Seven-year-old Mariia* lives in Ukraine with her mother and older brothers. Life drastically changed for Mariia and her family once the war escalated. Constant bombing and violence destroyed neighbourhoods and left the children in a constant state of fear.

To seek safety, Mariia and her family hid in the basement of a local school. Eventually, they returned home, but since the violence was ongoing, they hid in their basement. Mariia was very scared, and her mother was worried about her over all well-being.

“It was not good in the basement. It was very cold, and it was scary,” Mariia describes.

Mariia, 7, playing at a Child-Friendly Space supported by Save the Children after having spent two months away from her village due to the ongoing war in Ukraine

After some time, the family left their neighbourhood and went to another location in Ukraine. When they returned, they found that their house and Mariia’s school had been destroyed.

Though Mariia enjoys learning subjects like Ukrainian, German, and math she was unable to return to school because the restoration of the building took too long.

Mariia took part in social and recreational programs in Save the Children’s Child-Friendly Spaces, where she was able to learn, play, and receive psychosocial support. Mariia’s mother saw how Mariia’s time in the Child-Friendly Space was a benefit to her overall well-being.