by Andrea Trudden, Vice President of Communications & MarketingHeartbeat International
Walking through busy streets. Sleeping at a hotel with music playing in the hall. The 2022 European Pregnancy Help Leaders Summit was a very different environment from the sirens and chaos the Save a Life pregnancy help team left in Ukraine.
Alina was 39 weeks pregnant when the war started. Now, her very life was at risk and the reality that her husband could be sent to fight in the war increased the stress.
A pregnancy center director of the Zaporizhzhia Save a Life location, she knows the pressures when faced with an unexpected pregnancy. Add a war to the typical pressures a woman has in that delicate moment of her life, and Alina knew that pregnancy centers in Ukraine would be needed during wartime. And so, her work continued after being displaced from her home in Zaporizhzhia.
In the midst of the war sirens and vibrations from the blasts, Alina gave birth to her son, Mark, in a make-shift bomb shelter. It was humbling, and a great reminder of the beauty of life. This little baby boy brought a light of joy in a moment of darkness.
With her new baby, her two-year-old daughter, and husband, Alina moved West toward safety. Here, she sought out a pregnancy center to continue serving women who sought pregnancy help. Her newborn baby by her side, Alina started meeting with women — some local, some displaced from the southeastern and eastern parts of the country — to provide compassionate care and a listening ear as they discussed their futures.
She humbly told us, “Please don’t think I’m a hero. I’m not a hero. And I’m not brave because I wanted to leave. I wanted to run for the sake of my children, but I would rather die than to disobey what God has called me to, which is to stay.”
Similarly, Alla, the national director, manages seven pregnancy centers throughout Ukraine. A widow with a sixteen year old and an eleven year old at home, Alla channels her hope and energy into the centers. Under her leadership, Save a Life centers have expanded across the nation.
She acknowledges that the loss of her husband to cancer when her children were young helped motivate her to get involved with pregnancy centers to be a pillar of support for women. Today, her children help by volunteering their time at the pregnancy centers as well, bringing them together in the work to save lives.
Nadia travels between Ukraine and the United States to help raise awareness for Save a Life. In August, they hosted their annual conference in spite of the war. With more than 100 in attendance, this was an encouragement that God is at work in Ukraine through pregnancy help.
Understanding the risk of travel at this time in Ukraine, these three women joined 17 other countries at Heartbeat International’s European Pregnancy Help Summit in Bucharest, Romania. At the summit, they were able to share their experience both in living in a war zone and in serving in a war zone. As many of the European nations are serving Ukrainian refugee women, the insight Nadia, Alla, and Alina provided was timely and meaningful.
This team of women was an example of courage and strength, once again showing the world that women are capable of being mothers and accomplishing the work they are called to.
The world continues to watch as Russian troops march across the Ukraine. The photos and reports we have access to either personally, traditional news outlets, or social media, are devastating as 2 million people have migrated to safer places in western Ukraine, Poland, Romania, and Hungary.
We invite you, our partners, to send resources to pregnancy help centers in specified countries as those centers embrace refugees, women, and their families in need of physical resources and finances. Consider that males between the ages of 18 and 60 are not permitted to leave Ukraine so that they can serve the nation's defense. I have heard the stories, as you have, of fathers and husbands who drive their families to the border, or into Poland and then immediately head back to Ukraine to serve in the military.
Friends, let us respond to the humanitarian crisis presented in our world by offering of our resources, as much as we are able, to welcome the stranger, embrace the families, and reach and rescue the women and families in our midst.
You may want to contribute to Heartbeat's HALO fund. This fund is specifically designated to help affiliated life-affirming organizations. Those funds will be distributed to affiliated centers in countries impacted by the war in Ukraine. This is often the best option for those outside of Europe because getting practical resources to the right place can be extremely challenging.
But the European pregnancy help movement may have a better way to help these refugees and those receiving them.
We've begun to gather a list of Pregnancy Help Organizations in Eastern Europe receiving refugees and what kind of resources they need to support them.
Practical resources can be sent to the following centers.
If you are another center also reaching out and rescuing women and their families during this crisis, please let us know. We will add your center to the list.
Please see below for a list of resources needed:
LONG-TERM FOOD: canned goods, oil, sugar, pasta, flour, groats, rice, tea, coffee, candy, UHT milk, canned vegetables/fruits (e.g. beans, peas, corn, pineapple, peach), tomato puree in cartons, dried fruit, nuts.COSMETICS AND CHEMICALS: shower gels, shampoos, soaps, toothbrushes and toothpastes, creams, pads, baby pampers, washing liquids, dishwashing liquids.SUPPLIES, especially for wounds and burns: thermal blankets, sterile gauze, sterile compresses, knitted bands, elastic bandages, ampoules of saline, disinfectants, disposable gloves, sterile bandages, tourniquets, scissors for dressings.NEW blankets and sleeping bags
List of needed items for children:- toys;- School supplies: notebooks, crayons, plasticine, coloring books, markers, drawing pads, coloring paper, picture books, etc;- Pampers in sizes: 1 i 2;- Wet wipes;- Jars of ready-made baby food;- bottles with pacifiers;- pacifiers;- powdered milk;- blankets;- body oils;- toothpaste and toothbrushes for babies.
Thank you for the work you are doing everyday to change lives and change the destiny of women in unplanned pregnancies. we pray for you. Please reach out to email@example.com with any questions.
Check out the Kharkiv Pregnancy Assistance Center has been up to in Ukraine! Read the newsletter by clicking on the attachment below.
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