June 1st is a joyful day marking the beginning of summer, which is the most anticipated time for children. Time for vacation and new experiences.
First Lady Olena Zelenska visited the Yaroslavtsev family, who saved their 10 foster children and one biological son from the occupied part of Zaporizhzhia. Representatives of the Foundation arrived in Boryspil, located in the Kyiv region, with gifts. The children received art sets, toys, and sports equipment.
The Foundation has been supporting this family since their arrival in the Kyiv region. Together with international donors we have arranged their household in the new place. We provided them with bunk beds, household and computer equipment, electric blankets, heaters, home care products, purchased a gas stove for the kitchen, a gas cylinder, and everything necessary for its installation.
Before finding themselves in a safe place, the Yaroslavtsev family lived under Russian occupation for almost three months. When a rocket hit a nearby street in May 2022 they decided to evacuate urgently from their hometown. The foster parents, Alla and Oleksandr, have one biological son, 8 minor foster children and 2 adult foster children. Their evacuation was difficult. The Yaroslavtsev united with another family and the first time the Russians did not let 20 children on two buses pass, and then the second time, shelling began.
Alla, the mother, recalls: "The occupiers hid in the shelter, and the buses with children were left on the road. It was very scary; we miraculously survived. When we found ourselves on Ukrainian-controlled territory and saw our soldiers, we felt indescribable joy. We wanted to hug them and give them all the candies we kept for the children. And the children were as eager for it," she laughs.
The Yaroslavtsev did not reach Boryspil, where they live now, right away. They initially stayed in Pereyaslav for some time and took three more children into their family in Kyiv region. These are siblings from a family that the country sadly learned about in 2020. Their mother attacked the little ones with a knife while they were sleeping. Later, the woman was hospitalized in a specialized medical institution, and the children were placed in an orphanage. Now these children are part of the large Yaroslavtsev family, and Alla and Oleksandr have 11 foster children (after two adult foster children leave the family).
"For Ukraine, International Day for Protection of Children during the war gains real, not abstract, meaning. For the second year in a row we celebrate this day under the shelling sounds. Every child has the right to grow up in safety, with a healthy psyche in a loving family circle. This right has been brazenly violated by the terrorist state. Thanks to true friends of Ukraine, international donors of the Foundation, we have the opportunity to restore a normal life for Ukrainian children. International Day for Protection of Children is an opportunity to remind society once again how important it is to protect the rights of every child so that in the future they know how to stand up for others. By taking care of children, we teach them by our own example how to care for others," said Nina Horbachova, the Director of the Foundation.
During First Lady Olena Zelenska's visit to the Yaroslavtsev family, the Director of the Foundation Nina Horbachova informed the children and their foster parents that soon they will have a new home. With the support of international donors, the Foundation will build a new house for the Yaroslavtsev family.