Larisa, a 55-year-old woman from the Vinnytsia region, Mohyliv-Podilskyi, had to go through complex surgery before the war in 2022 in Kyiv when her husband took the role of a caregiver, a title she lovingly bestowed upon him – “her guardian angel.” Because of his devotion to her well-being, he decided to leave his job.
Their journey was not an easy one. In September 2023, UNHCR reported that approximately 10% of refugees in Moldova had disabilities, with 22% of refugee households having at least one member with specific needs. These needs range from disabilities to severe medical conditions1. Despite the hardships, Larisa and her husband found refuge in Moldova, welcomed by friends who had assisted them since their arrival. With their children living their own lives and no longer by their side, the couple shared their new home with four others – friends, and a loyal dog named Moli.
Their arrival in Moldova marked the beginning of a new chapter.
Here in Moldova, we were welcomed very well. We came right after I had undergone surgery. From Kyiv, we traveled for two days through fields and forests; when there was a curfew, we spent the night in the forest. We arrived in Mohyliv-Podilskyi and came to Moshana, Moldova.
They first heard about the EU-funded project implemented by ACTED and, more specifically, its dedicated NRC programming at the Cultural Centre in Donduseni in 2023. Registering their needs with the NRC team from the North Community Centre in Ocnita, they received essential supplies from the NRC WASH/Shelter team – hygiene items, clothes, shoes, and linens. The couple also learned about the legal services provided to refugees, and they obtained Temporary Protection in Moldova through the support of the Information, Counselling, and Legal Assistance (ICLA) team.
The NRC team helped me to get temporary protection. Only now have we realized how important it is to have temporary protection; we have the same rights as Moldovan citizens, and healthcare is free… Thanks to temporary protection, I received free medical consultations and medication.
With love and the unwavering support of old and new friends, Larisa and her husband overcame many obstacles. Moldova became more than just a place of refuge; it became a community that stood by them in the face of health challenges. Through their story, a testament emerged – that humanity’s collective strength could light the way forward in the darkest times.
With the support of the European Union Humanitarian Aid, NRC and its partners Acted and People in Need (PIN), are committed to continue working to respond to the basic needs of refugees and host communities through the provision of services and activities in its North Community Centre, the home of the PLACE Consortium.
I am very grateful for NRC's help; they help in any way they can. Thank you very much. I recommended NRC; people asked me for lawyers' phone numbers, and I gave them.