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History of Lyudmila

Liudmyla just turned 20 years old this fall. When the war began, she was living in the Kherson region of Ukraine, and her son had just turned 1. A few months later, pregnant, she evacuated into Russia with her husband and son, looking for safety and somewhere that they could earn money to feed their growing family and save enough to continue onwards to Europe. Her husband tried taking a couple of jobs doing physical labor, but he was never paid.

That's when they applied a case request to Rubikus, and with the help of our colleagues in Russia, were able to travel to Warsaw. Liudmyla was just about coming to the point in her pregnancy where she wouldn't be able to fly anymore, but being right on the cusp, we decided to try it. She had seen doctors in Russia who confirmed that it was a healthy and low-risk pregnancy, and a 2-hour flight from Warsaw to Naples, Italy, was far preferable to a 2-3 day trip via trains. The rest of her family was ready and waiting in Naples with housing and plenty of baby clothes collected from local charitable organizations. All we had to do was get her there as quickly as possible, while she was still feeling well enough to travel. We arranged an apartment in Warsaw for her while she waited for her flight, and sent them money for groceries. They got a bit congested from the change in climate, but were otherwise feeling good and ready to finally reach their destination and hug the rest of their family.

Unfortunately, they weren't allowed to board the plane. The pilot said that at her stage of pregnancy, even on a 2-hour flight any turbulence could be too much of a risk factor. So they left the airport, stood outside in the parking lot, and waited for us to tell them what to do next. An 8-month pregnant 20-year old girl, her 23-year old husband, and a 1-year old toddler, with two small bags that could fit under the airplane seat, and a few diapers.

We got them a taxi to a Warsaw hostel, and I got to work searching for a backup plan. The best routes are those that are planned in advance, seeing the whole map of Europe as a chess board, and choosing clever connections, affordable prices, and easy to follow directions. None of that was available, since we had a set start and end point, a limited number of transportation options, 2,000 miles of land to cover, and a very rigid deadline: the pregnancy. So, today Liudmyla and her family are taking a night train from Warsaw to Vienna, where they will spend 12 hours with local volunteers, and then get on a second night train from Vienna to Rome, where they will switch to one last train to take them to Naples. This route is wildly more expensive than what Rubikus can typically afford to spend per refugee, but when you have hundreds of refugees moving in all directions across Europe, once in a while you encounter a force majeure and have to do whatever you can.

If you are willing and able to help sponsor Liudmyla's journey, and the journeys of hundreds of other Ukrainian war refugees we are helping to evacuate from Ukraine (via the Main Stream) and Russia (via the Northern Stream), please consider making a small donation:



*Posted with Liudmyla's permission

Original post:
Stories of the refugee families