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June, 05 2023

A passionate artist seeks safety in Romania during the war in Ukraine.

Intense hostilities since the start of the conflict in Ukraine last February have resulted in nearly 9,000 civilian casualties and extensive destruction of infrastructure. Families have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety beyond the country’s borders.  


Ustiniia is a Moldovan-Ukrainian refugee who left Kyiv in the aftermath of the war. Now living in Romania, Ustiniia hopes to return to Ukraine after the violence subsides, to participate in the country’s path to recovery and rebuilding.  

I have lived in Kyiv for twenty years, I love that city very much. It is forever in my heart,” she shared. “We wanted our daughter to see a peaceful lifeWe were hiding there in bomb shelters.” 

Witnessing those around her becoming internally displaced within Ukraine, or seeking support as refugees in neighboring countries, Ustiniia never planned to leave the country even after braving through an entire year of war. It was the unaffordable cost of living and limited economic opportunity that pushed her and her family to leave. An artist by profession, Ustiniia wears her passion for her creative work in advertising, film and animation on her sleeve. “Before the start of the full-scale invasion, I had a lot of work. Even after it started, I had work, but the longer it went on, the harder it became, unfortunately.”  


Today, Romania is home to approximately 95,000 Ukrainian refugees. The most pressing needs are emergency food, cash assistance, shelter, and essential non-food items (NFIs). To meet the needs of refugee families like Ustiniia’s, CORE is working in partnership with local authorities in Bucharest and the American Red Cross to provide support to the Edmond Nicolau Technical College transit center for refugees. Through the provision of furniture, refrigerators, washing machines and water dispensers, CORE has helped in their capacity expansion from 45 to 120 beds.  With upgraded facilities and the weekly delivery of over 500 pounds of fruit and vegetables, CORE is helping ensure refugee families have a comfortable and functional safe space to call home until more permanent housing solutions are available.