Regardless of the circumstances

IDPs find renewed hope thanks to the support of Medair

Knocking on Valentyna’s apartment door, we were greeted by a very beautiful and smiling girl, Raya, who held a teddy bear in her hands. She led us into the room with her grandmother and continued to smile the entire time we visited this family.

Cash for rent.

Risa, 6-years-old, is a member of the Ukrainian community, holds beloved toy bear in her hands in Vinnytsia city. ©Medair/Diana Mukan

Valentyna, at 68 years old, is the guardian of her two grandchildren – Artem, 16 and Raya, 6 – who have always been and continue to be the most important people in her life. The armed conflict that unexpectedly struck their hometown in March 2023 forced them to flee their homes, putting an end to life as they knew it. “We had planned to leave on April 8th by train. But fate had other plans. At 11:00 a.m. that day, a rocket hit the train station, causing many casualties and deaths among both adults and children. God saved us from this terrible event,” Valentyna recalls. “We were able to leave with the help of my eldest grandson, who is a teacher. He arranged for us to get on a bus that was heading to the city of Dnipro on April 9th,” Valentyna said.Valentyna and her grandchildren left immediately after that terrible incident. Initially, their new place of residence was a dormitory, but the conditions there were awful; damp, cold, and even moldy. The children often fell ill, and Valentyna had to spend most of her money on medical bills.

“Some days, it felt like we woke up in the morning, and there was frost in the room; that’s how damp it was,” Valentyna recalls.

Cash for rent.

Valentina, 68-years-old, sits together with her granddaughter Raya on the sofa in their two-bedroom apartment. ©Medair/Diana Mukan

Then one day, a team from Medair’s Alternative Housing Solution program visited the dormitory and offered Valentyna and her family help in finding another solution. “The friendly Medair staff helped us move to a more comfortable apartment in the city. This allowed us to have proper housing and access to medical care for Raya. Irina, a Medair employee, helped us,” Valentyna said.

“Our new apartment reminds us of the feeling of having our own home and brings us immense joy. It’s like a small corner of paradise for us, a place where we can truly be ourselves and create beautiful memories together,” Valentyna says with gratitude. She continues, “Here, we can live normally with the children, and I can properly take care of their health.”

Artem, her older grandson, also found ways of adapting to his new life. Despite the difficulties and obstacles, he is studying remotely at a school in Kramatorsk and has made new friends in Vinnytsia with whom he goes out and plays sports.

But the true hero of this story is Raya. Due to her struggles with epilepsy, every day presents a challenge. However, Raya refuses to surrender. She finds joy in playing with building blocks, mastering letters, and counting. Her resilience and enthusiasm serve as a true source of inspiration for the entire family.

Cash for rent.

Raisa sits on a chair in her room holding a toy bear in her hands and smiling at Diana, Medair’s Communications Officer in Ukraine. ©Medair/Diana Mukan

“We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but thanks to the help of Medair, we can believe in a better future,” Valentyna says with gratitude in her eyes.

Cash for rent.

Iryna, Medair’s Case Management Assistant in Vinnytsia, Central Ukraine. ©Medair/Diana Mukan

“Every day, I speak with people who have lost their homes, way of life, dreams, and hope for the future because of the conflict. Bitter tears…despair…despondency…every conversation we have is like a beacon of hope. First, we listen to the story, clarify what they need, then, collaborate creatively to develop an action planed a plan of movement toward improving the present and future. In most situations, by the end of the session, the person understands that they can count on thorough aid, giving them the confidence to put the internal energy to action,” shared Iryna, Medair’s Case Management Assistant. She added: “Valentyna is a testament to how this program can help others. Her eyes are brighter now than when we first met! Her fortitude and determination renew our energy, and her story inspires people who are in a similar situation.”

Cash for rent.

Raisa built the word “HOME” out of toy cubes. This word signifies that although her family had moved away from their native home in search of a peaceful life, Medair was able to provide this family with a sense of their own home for comfortable living. ©Medair/Diana Mukan

Cash for rent.

On the table, there is a notebook where Valentyna notes every time Raya has an epileptic episode. ©Medair/Diana Mukan



Medair’s Cash for Rent (CfR) services in Vinnytsia, Central Ukraine, are funded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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