Hear My Story


“We saw a tank but people said not to worry as it was Ukrainian. They were wrong, it turned its tower and fired at us.”

Yulia Sarana (45) is from Mariupol and worked at the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works factory as
an engineer before a disability caused her retirement. Yulia came to Warsaw with her two
daughters, aged 18 and 15, and her father and uncle. Her husband died 5 years ago in a factory
accident. The group had a grueling 3-day trek through Russia, Estonia and Latvia, before reaching Poland.

Her Story:
“We left in May 2022 when the Siege of Mariupol ended. I used to live in a smart apartment
because of my disability, with a vacuum cleaner, a washing machine, and a coffee machine,
but everything was destroyed. When we left Mariupol, 90% of the buildings were damaged or
destroyed. Russian soldiers said that houses and hospitals were strategic targets because
Ukrainian soldiers were hiding in them. As we were leaving, the Russian soldiers would check
people to see if they supported Ukraine. They would check our phones for Ukrainian symbols
and even check to see if we had hidden tattoos.”

Her daughter, Dasha (18), also told her story:
“Initially there were no communications, no water, no electricity or food. We used beer to flush the toilet. My sister and I used to have to leave to get food and water. There were always lots of bodies in the street. One of the shopswas used to store bodies – they used it as a kind of burial place because they didn’t have anything else to do with the bodies. Once people told us not to go in a certain direction as it
was littered with mines and that saved our lives. Another time we saw a tank but people said not to worry as it was Ukrainian. They were wrong; it turned its tower and fired at us.”

The Future:
As they don’t know the Polish language, it is difficult to go to school in Poland. When the war is
over, they plan to move back to Mariupol.

An Ask For Help:
Yulia and her two daughters are in a challenging situation due to Yulia’s affliction with Ollier
disease, which affects her limbs. As Yulia requires constant medication, they are seeking