Innovista’s response to the war in Ukraine has been guided by our Ukrainian team from the outset. Since February, Innovista grants have enabled churches to buy essential supplies like food, water and fuel to support refugees, and those in conflict zones. To everyone who has given a gift to this vital work, thank you!

As the war continues, our focus is shifting to a longer-term picture. Whilst we continue to send grants for essential supplies, we want to respond to deeper needs within families and communities which have experienced trauma.

Displaced families

Two thirds of Ukraine’s children have been displaced since February. All have lost their homes; some have witnessed violence and destruction; others have been injured, abused or bereaved. Innovista International Director, Jason Lane recently visited Ukraine and described “a profound sense of collective trauma” everywhere he went.

 

“The war began and everything changed”: the story of a family in Kharkiv

“It got louder and scarier every day. Between bombings and shelling, we came out of the basement, stood in lines for food, under fire. For several days we could not get bread. And how happy the children were when we were treated to a freshly baked loaf. They sniffed it and carefully passed it from hand to hand.

We did not plan to leave the city. But on March 6, everything changed. Our soldiers shot down an enemy plane of the Russian Federation. An hour later, hell began.

Our house was hit more than ten times. And a rocket hit the house opposite and it caught fire. People jumped out into the street. Everywhere the smell of burning, soot. We were in the basement. Everything was thundering, whistling, flying, pouring. Glass shattered, doors and bricks flew out. Noise, roar, rumble. It seemed that this was the end and what was happening was not happening to us. Children screamed in terror and fear. The adults hugged the children and covered their heads with their bodies. They looked at each other in silence and mentally said goodbye to everyone. They prayed to God to for the opportunity to survive. The brain worked, and the body was paralyzed with fear. We understood that we could not change anything.

As soon as morning came, the curfew ended, we got out of the basement. We took the cats, documents and left.

The first day we stopped in Poltava to come to our senses, to get rid of the shock. We thanked God that we survived and were able to leave. We spent the night and went to Kremenchug, then to Uman. We drove for three days. We got to Dubno, then to Zhytomyr – and were looked after by a church supported by Innovista.

Thank God, we met wonderful people. We were helped with housing and clothes. We are glad to be safe. Every day we pray for every Kharkiv resident who stays there. We are grateful to all the people who help us. We pray to God for a speedy peace.”

Family Resilience Programme

The Family Resilience Project will build the capacity of local churches in Ukraine and Moldova as they respond to the trauma faced by families like this one.

We are partnering with Viva – an international Christian children’s charity – and adapting resources they have produced and used to support Children in Emergencies in many countries. Viva are well-placed to provide training about safeguarding and psychosocial care for children, and holistic support for parents and caregivers at times of crisis.

The resources are simple to pick up and use, and can be delivered over six weeks through a weekly meeting with a parent and child. Each conversation explores key parenting tips, eg. building children’s strength in a crisis. Local churches will encourage families to take positive practical actions each week.

This project will enable churches in Ukraine and Moldova to keep serving their communities effectively during this ongoing crisis. Thank you for making this possible through your support of Innovista.