Gardener. Mother. Nature lover.

Katia and her family had to flee fighting twice.

Katia, 23 years old: “Sergei and I grew up here in Nikishino. We played in the fields and the forests. You should see the river in summer. Sergei learned to fish in that river. Everything around is so peaceful. We have so many good memories.

We are going to rebuild our lives and our community. Sergei has almost repaired the roof of our house and we’ll plant a vegetable garden. The children will go back to school and Sophia will go to the kindergarten.

In the community centre there were always dances and events and we saved the books from the local library. Come back and you’ll see – life here will be good, as before!”


Katia, Sergei and Sophia receive aid from UNHCR. (c) UNHCR/A. McConnell/2015


Katia, Sergei and Sophia on their way home. Most of the buildings in Nikishino are in ruins. (c) UNHCR/Andrew McConnell/2015


Sophia plays in the yard of the family's home. (c) UNHCR/Andrew McConnell/2015

Katia and Sergei are both 23 and have a three-year old daughter, Sophia. They had to flee the fighting around Ukraine’s town of Nikishino twice. Still, they consider themselves lucky. Most of the buildings are in ruins but their house was relatively undamaged. Their greatest loss was their photo album, stolen along with other things when they fled.  

Like many men in the region, Sergei is a coal miner. But the fighting has closed almost all the mines. Sergei is optimistic and hopes to find work in a mine soon. Until then, he and Katia are repairing their home.

Refugees. Ordinary people living through extraordinary times. Share their stories.

Over 1 million people have been internally displaced by the conflict in Ukraine. In September of 2014, Nikishino, a village of 900, was on the front line, and now little is left intact. UNHCR assists those displaced by the violence in Ukraine with basic household items such as clothes, blankets, and cooking utensils.  In areas where return is possible, basic construction materials have been provided.

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