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Voluntary service



Life in pieces

Kharkiv, Kharkiv region

Irene is an engineer with a doctorate degree, but life had other plans for her. Together with her husband, an artist, she realized that art is also her calling. Together, they founded an art studio where they organized art classes for children and adults, and few years ago they managed to buy a their own space. They dreamed of creating an artistic oasis in it one day. They built a life that they were not ready to leave just like that.

They tried everything. Almost six months after the beginning of the armed conflict in Ukraine, Irene, her husband and their son kept the hope that the war would end, that everything would be as it was before. They didn’t want to… They couldn’t believe that their life just stopped in an instant.

Without the information on how to protect themselves, they lived in their bathroom for days. Damp and moldy basements could not serve as a substitute for safe shelters. It was hard to breathe in them. Broken window panes and empty panes were everywhere. People are losing their lives waiting in long lines outside shops and pharmacies because no one warned them that it was not safe to leave their homes. There was enough reason for them to find refuge in the village with friends in the hope that it would be over soon.

Six months later, as Irene says, “they are trying to put their personalities back together from the pieces into which they were scattered.” “It’s hard to decide to leave,” she adds.

Irene, her husband, son, and a cat Margo are in Tivat today. They found out about the Red Cross of Tivat through a group on social media and decided to turn to them for help. There, for the first time, they were able to put aside all their worries for a while, while attending workshops and talking to other people. It is not easy not to think about everything that has happened and not to predict the most diverse future scenarios. The Red Cross reminds them that they are, and will be with them.

They have a long way  ahead. Still, the sound of a passenger plane landing will cause chills, and fireworks will awaken the most terrifying forebodings. Questions that begin with “how to proceed” will remain unanswered for some time, and the hug to the family in another part of the world will only be virtual.

But know – you are not alone!


Author: Tereza Vujosevic, Red Cross of Montenegro


* Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, the Red Cross of Montenegro has been providing support to Ukrainian refugees in the form of information, psychosocial and psychological support, organized language classes, medical assistance, collection and distribution of humanitarian aid.