Galyna’s story

Children blossom when surrounded by love

"Children need love, and they blossom when surrounded by love. Otherwise, they fade."

As someone who's spent a lot of time with children who have little or no experience of parental love or family life, Valentyna knows what she's talking about.

A professional nurse, Valentyna worked at Mission Without Borders' summer camp for children living in Ukraine's institutions.

As the camp nurse, her task was to check on the children's health when they arrived, such as treating some of them for lice before joining the others. She tended to any health concerns throughout the camp – cold symptoms, stomach aches, and injuries. She was also responsible for checking that the children's rooms were in order and clean.

For some children at summer camp, Valentyna's First Aid station became a place they would visit daily. Not because they were unwell or hurt but because, in Valentyna, they found someone sympathetic, kind, and understanding. Each young visitor receives her full attention and interest, and they find it easy to open up to her and share their troubles and thoughts.

She said, "When children come to me, I usually ask some simple questions. These questions often lead to open and heartbreaking conversations and the start of a new friendship. 

"I understand that kids urgently need to be heard. They need to feel that someone cares. Some children desperately need that close relationship as they can't openly show their inner scars, fears, or insecurities." 

Six-year-old Galyna loved spending time with Valentyna. She stays at Tuchyn boarding school, a children's institution that MWB staff and volunteers regularly visit, going home at weekends. 

Galyna's mother passed away when she was little, and her father never recovered. He is depressed and neglects his two daughters' care and well-being. Galyna already knows how to cook and iron when she's home at weekends. Sometimes she has to go out looking for food for them when her father is intoxicated. She cares about her father more than he seems to care for her.

Valentyna explained how summer camp is so important to children like Galyna.

She said, "What we see is the result of the absence of love. Children are often deeply hurt inside. There are things that cause them to stumble and prevent them from having at least a normal childhood. Until someone comes and helps them, they won't be able to move on. That's what we do here." 

We all cried when summer camp was over. I cried because I could not help them more than I did.


Even though summer camp is only a week, the love, care, and life-changing bonds formed here make saying goodbye bittersweet.

Please consider donating today – and support us in giving as many children, like Galyna, the life-changing experience of a MWB summer camp.

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Children will have the opportunity to attend one of MWB’s Summer Camps

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