Ukrainians set up an initiative to support mothers with children, assisted by iROZHLAS refugees

They have been living, working and raising their children in the Czech Republic for years. Now Ukrainian mothers have decided to help those fleeing the war in Ukraine. The Mriya UA initiative is located in the upper part of Wenceslas Square in Prague and helps mothers with children.




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Volunteer Tatiana and founder of the Mriya UA Victoria initiative Photo: Lucie Korcova Source: Czech Radio

Viktoria Maturinová has lived in the Czech Republic for ten years and is raising two sons herself. She, too, once had to start in a foreign land all along. Together with their friends, they decided to use their experience to help other mothers and children fleeing war.

Listen to a report from the Mriya UA initiative in Wenceslas Square

“I kept thinking: I’m a single mother, how can I help? After all, I just live alone. I couldn’t sleep, I watched the news at night and thought that it couldn’t go on like this,” says Maturinová.

“So we started with acquaintances – people came to us, we could lodge them somewhere, feed them… We thought we would do it at someone’s house and we had no idea it would start like that,” the woman described. .

700 people seek help at the initiative center every day. Viktoria Maturinová adds that 60 volunteers take turns here every day. They advise on how to apply for a visa, find accommodation for refugees or offer them humanitarian aid.

Drawings in the children’s corner Photo: Lucie Korcova Source: Czech Radio

“Mostly Ukrainians, but the Czechs also help us. And especially refugees. As soon as we welcome them to Prague, they immediately come to us and say, “We can’t sit on our butts. We see how you are doing and we also want to participate, ”explains Maturinová

‘Mom, don’t drive’

One of them is Tatiana Bondarenko from Lugansk. He works in a warehouse where food, clothes and other things that people bring here are sorted. When the war broke out, she was visiting Prague. She has not found her family. In Ukraine, she has a mother, a husband, a son and a ten-month-old granddaughter.

“They don’t have light or heat. The snow has fallen and they are happy that they can pick it up and have water,” says Bondarenková. He adds that he will not try to go to the Czech Republic because that is no longer possible.

In the Mriya UA initiative in Wenceslas Square, almost 700 people ask for help every day Photo: Lucie Korcova Source: Czech Radio

“I feel guilty. I was supposed to go to Ukraine, but my son called me at five in the morning and said, ‘Mom, please don’t go. There’s a war here. I feel guilty for being here and they are there,” Bondarenka replies when asked why she decided to help here.

stop the war

While inspecting the warehouse, Viktoria Maturinová begins to calculate what is missing the most.

“Food and hygiene. This is the biggest problem, because it disappears right away. We have no hygiene at all – Shampoo, brushes, pastes, soap… And that’s exactly what they need. They come so many times that they don’t even have the money. So we have no idea what to do with it,” Maturinová said. According to her, people should mainly wear described things.


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At the back of the warehouse there is a children’s corner so that the little ones do not have to queue. There are pictures on the walls that the children have painted.

“At the very beginning, the photos were only black and white. When a little boy painted a tank that shoots children, I didn’t even know what to say. He came, he showed it to me, so I congratulated him, but… it was hard for everyone,” Maturinová says in tears.

The picture was painted by five-year-old Jan from Krivoy Rog. Artem, 12, is signed next to the Ukrainian flag. Just above the Stop the War sign.

Lucie Korcova

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