Today is a story about little Sofia from the village of Kamianka, Kupyansk district, Kharkiv region. Sofia, together with her older brother Mykyta, father and mother, were under the occupation since March – for half a year.

“We left the village on September 17, 2022, at 4 in the morning”. The girl’s mother recalls that it felt like an escape because for the last 5 days, they had been sitting as a family in the basement and did not come out at all. “At first, we were quickly taken to Pechenigu, and there they called a taxi to Kharkiv. It was autumn in the yard, and we and the children were in winter clothes because they came out right from the basement.”

Despite the fact that Sofia’s family lived in the occupation for six months: without electricity, communication, gas, and water. People found a way to live on. Everything was washed in rivers, and water was collected in streams. “We always knew that our people would come soon and save us. We were always gathered and waiting for them,” says my mother.

And when the armed forces came to the village, someone smiled, cried from happiness and hugged. Sofia brought the military a large Barbie doll, a bunch of cookies, chocolate and water. “Our guys helped a lot and always said that the children should not sit in the basements. They brought food, hot water for the children to wash. We felt that we were taken care of and that we were not alone.”

How did the war change children?

It had a great impact on learning. Mykyta (older brother) does not want to study at all. And Sofia is nervous, offended for any reason. “She constantly asks: why are we here, why not at home? Why this war happened?”

After the victory

Sofia’s mother has a big dream to return home and restore the house. “Of course, there is a lot of work there, but we already have a plan when we return to the village, where we will live while my husband repairs everything. I am sure that Ukraine will win because it is strong. We will return soon.”