Mother’s Day: 3 amazing mums protecting their children in Ukraine

March 10th is Mother’s Day, a time to celebrate the love and strength of mother figures across the globe.

To mark this Mother’s Day, we’re sharing the stories of three incredible mums living through Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine: Tina*, Lilia* and Olga*.

From losing homes to losing loved ones, each of these women showed strength, love and care in the face of great hardship. Their stories remind us of the importance of family and that during war, children need a mother’s love more than ever. 

This Mother’s Day, will you help us bring separated children back to family? Donate today. 

Tina (right) stands with her son, three little sisters and mother, Lilia (left). Yevhenii Zavhorodnii / Hope and Homes for Children

Tina’s bravely raising her son after being widowed by war

“Now, life is difficult. But I try to be strong for my baby.” 

Tina, 22, is a young mum from Borodianka, Kyiv. Tina was three months pregnant when her village was invaded by Russian troops. Her fiancé was shot and killed the very next day. 
“We lived together,” she says, I was pregnant with his child. And then the next moment, he was gone. Just dead.”  

Tina, 22, wipes tears from her eyes as she recalls the day her fiancé was killed by Russian troops.
Tina wipes tears from her eyes as she recalls the day her fiancé was killed by Russian troops. Yevhenii Zavhorodnii / Hope and Homes for Children

Traumatised, Tina looked at the prospect of single motherhood with fear. But her own mother, Lilia, stood by her side every step of the way. With love, care and support, Tina got back on her feet in time to welcome her baby into the world. A healthy boy called Serhii*. Named after his dad.  

“After all I’d been through, giving birth to my baby was the happiest moment of my life. He’s my hope, my continuation.”

Tina* laughing joyfully with baby Serhii* in her arms, Ukraine.
Thanks to our team, Tina received the psychological support she needed to raise Serhii all by herself. Yevhenii Zavhorodnii / Hope and Homes for Children

Tina’s story celebrates the strength of new mums and the resilience of mother figures around the world.

Tina received support from our Mobile Team in Borodianka. Read more about how we supported her family in Tina’s story. 

Lilia evacuated her family to save them from being shot

“My family is the most important thing in my life. I would sacrifice my life for them to be happy.” 

Lilia lives with her husband, Mykhailo*, and their four children, including Tina. 

After Tina’s fiancé died, Lilia evacuated her children to safety. They were only given thirty minutes to leave without being shot. For the next five weeks, they lived in hiding. 

Lilia, Tina and their family smiling for a family photo outside their home, Ukraine.
Lilia stands with her husband and four children outside their home.
Yevhenii Zavhorodnii / Hope and Homes for Children

“We read, we painted,” remembers Lilia, a kindergarten teacher. “I’m the kind of mum who makes them count, practice dictation and read out loud. I wanted to distract them.” 

Lilia did everything she could to protect her children from the war. “I’d sacrifice my life for them to be happy, for them to never have the minutes they’ve had to go through,” she says. When it was safe for them to return home, she picked up the pieces, one by one, to help her family begin a new chapter after the occupation. 

“Working and being a mother of four and a grandmother is hard. But these are my children, my grandson, so I always find time for them, to work with them, to run, to play, to do homework. Like all mothers, I love my children.” 

Lilia’s story celebrates the care and protection of our mother figures, as well as the bravery of parents raising children in occupied territories around the world.

Lilia received humanitarian support from our Mobile Team in Borodianka, including food, clothing and blankets. Read more on the vital work of our Mobile Team in Liudmyla Boiko’s story, Mobile Team Leader.

Olga sought specialist support to help her son speak again

“I want my child, my Nikita*, to go to school and have good knowledge. But my first and foremost dream is what all Ukrainians dream of. Our victory.” 

Olga is a mother from the city of Fastiv. 

Having lost her first husband to the fighting in 2014, when Russia launched its full-scale invasion in 2022, Olga quickly evacuated her four young children to Poland all by herself.
“My youngest were very frightened by all the explosions and the chaos that followed,” says Olga. “The war has scared my children a lot. My eldest two know what a war is. They’ve felt it since 2014.” 

Olga sits with Nikita (left) and two other children in the Children’s Spot, Fastiv.
Yevhenii Zavhorodnii / Hope and Homes for Children

The experience left five-year-old Nikita so traumatised that he stopped speaking. Determined to help him get better, Olga started taking Nikita to our Children’s Spot in Fastiv. With the love of his mother and the support of our specialists, Nikita slowly started to recover and began speaking again. 

Above all, Olga wanted to nurture her children. To safeguard their future and fuel their potential. Because for Olga, like countless mother figures around the world, nothing’s more important than family. 

“Being a mum is difficult even when everything’s normal. It’s even more difficult during a war.”

Olga hugging Nikita at the Children’s Spot.
Yevhenii Zavhorodnii / Hope and Homes for Children

Olga’s story celebrates the dedication and nurturing of mums around the world, a testament to the support and encouragement found inside loving families.

Nikita received support at our Children’s Spot in Fastiv. To learn more about how the Children’s Spot has supported other children through the war, read Andrii’s* story.

How can you support mothers living through war in Ukraine?

Our team works round-the-clock to bring essential support to children and families in Ukraine. Our local team brings humanitarian support to some of the worst-hit communities and offers psychological support to traumatised children across the country.

Give the gift of love this Mother’s Day—help us bring support to families on the frontline in Ukraine. Your donation will help keep families together, and bring hope back to family.

This Mother’s Day, will you help us bring hope back to families? Donate today. 

*Names changed to ensure the safety and privacy of the people we support.