Poland, August 2022

Nastia, Iryna and their family have received support from Patchwork -Association for Immigrant Families of Persons with Disabilities. It is now receiving funding by the Polish Disability Forum, for the provision of healthcare and basic needs. The support is being provided within the framework of EDF’s Ukraine Programme, funded by CBM International.
Nastia, a 5-year-old child from Kyiv, came to Krakow, Poland, in March, with her mom Iryna, her dad and her two sisters. In late February, as Kharkiv began suffering heavy shellings from the Russian troops, Nastia’s family decided it was time to leave Kyiv, afraid that the situation in their city would become more dangerous soon.

Evacuation was difficult for her family: it was hard to explain the situation to the girls and, as they managed to leave their apartment, they missed the last subway and could not find any alternative to get to the train station. Finally, a family friend agreed to give them a lift to the station, where they boarded an evacuation train heading west and arrived to Lviv. They never thought they would leave Ukraine, but in Lviv they were advised to flee to Poland.

Nastia has autism and is non-verbal, being able to use only a few words while in Ukraine, so it was very important for her to continue the speech therapy that she had started back in Ukraine and had to interrupt.

In Krakow, Iryna enrolled Nastya in a special education preschool and, while talking with the mom of another child from Nastia’s school, she heard about PATCHWORK.

PATCHWORK helped find a speech therapist in Krakow for Nastia, and the therapy’s results are starting to become very visible: she can now spell the Ukrainian alphabet on her own. “This is a balm to my soul” says Iryna, as Nastia picks up an alphabet book and starts reading the letters out loud.

From July, PATCHWORK has become a Polish Disability Forum’s (PDF) partner in the CBM-funded Ukraine project. Since then, PDF has financed the purchase of supplies to respond to Nastia’s specific requirements and is in the process of arranging medical treatment for her. Iryna is very grateful for all the support and help her family received from her friends and the organization.

She would be happy to go back to Kyiv, but the situation in the city is still unsafe for her family. Originally, her family thought that they would only have to spend a few weeks in Poland, but now they are prepared to settle in Krakow for a much longer time.

Yuliya, Nastia and Iryna sit on a couch reading a book