Bringing Warmth

Finding hope amidst hardship: Nataliya’s journey with Medair

In the winter season, the supply of firewood becomes an integral part of life for countless people, especially for those who find themselves in vulnerable situations, such as internally displaced people (IDPs). Recognizing this need, Medair is committed to ensuring warmth and comfort for those in need. This winter, Medair supplied firewood to over 174 people in 5 communities in the Vinnytsia region, including Nataliya, a 64-year-old IDP from the Donetsk region.


Nataliya stands with Medair’s staff near the firewood that was delivered to her for the winter period. ©Medair/Diana Mukan

Nataliya’s experience highlights how unexpected challenges can drive people to seek new beginnings. Following a series of terrifying events including explosions and ongoing threats in their hometown, Nataliya and her husband decided to flee in pursuit of safety and peace.

“Sirens echoed daily. Our city came under heavy shelling. We just sat in the basement as the explosions continued, hitting schools, hospitals – just about everything,” recounts Nataliya, conveying the daily challenges they had to endure.

One day, the horror became unbearable for Nataliya and her husband, prompting them to gather their belongings and leave on a journey to find peace. For them, the move was a significant challenge: “At first, we went to another city, where our car broke down. After repairing it, we continued our journey to Vinnytsia. We drove through fields but were really scared and anxious as we were venturing into the unknown,” recalls Nataliya.

In her new home, Nataliya found herself surrounded by incredible warmth and support. With the help of her daughter, she secured a house with a small garden. The locals showed sympathy and kindness, freely providing essential provisions such as potatoes and various food items and a steady supply of fresh bread. This support took the form of mutual assistance and generosity, making her story particularly warm and inspiring.


Goat on the yard, which was bought by Nataliya. ©Medair/Diana Mukan

“Here, surrounded by nature and friendly neighbors, I feel truly at peace. The absence of constant sirens and explosions creates an atmosphere where I can calm my mind. I’ve even managed to acquire two goats. Last winter, I enjoyed the fruits of my labor in the garden and orchard – my own vegetables and fruits,” shares Nataliya, talking about her new place of residence.


Nataliya sits on a chair in the house that she was given for a living. ©Medair/Diana Mukan

Medair became a vital support for Nataliya in her new community. Her nephews, who were also volunteers, introduced her to representatives of Medair. “One day, I went to another community, where I met representatives of Medair. They were incredibly warm and friendly. Shortly after, Medair delivered firewood to me. It’s difficult to overstate how significant this was for me. With a modest pension and my solitary life, I couldn’t afford to buy firewood on my own, especially in winter when warmth and comfort are needed,” she says.


Nataliya stands with Medair staff in her house. ©Medair/Diana Mukan

“Please convey my heartfelt gratitude to your organization. I heard so many empty promises from other organizations and individuals that I had lost faith, but Medair turned out to be a true blessing,” she adds with a sparkle in her eyes.

As our conversation draws to a close, Nataliya shares, “My journey won’t lead me back to my hometown because I refuse to return to the past. Now, I’m focused on building my new life here. My main goal after the war is to travel abroad, where I intend to explore other cultures.”


On the bed Nataliya dries pea pods for further use on the farm. ©Medair/Diana Mukan


Firewoods that was delivered by Medair for Nataliya before the winter season. ©Medair/Diana Mukan


Medair services in Vinnytsia city, Ukraine, are funded by Swiss Solidarity (CdB).

All photos ©Medair / Diana Mukan

This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed here are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organization.