Ruslan and Marina's story

Rebuilding during the Ukraine War

In February 2022, the outbreak of war in Ukraine shocked the world.

Millions of people were on the move inside Ukraine or trying to leave. Discover Ruslan and Marina’s story and see how their family have started to rebuild after a lucky escape.

Badly damaged

Ruslan, Marina and their son Timothy, lived with Ruslan’s parents near Kyiv.

But when their neighbour’s house was hit by an airstrike, they fled Kyiv. Thankfully this meant they were not home at the time of the second strike. It hit when their friend was on the roof trying to repair the damage and he lost his leg in the attack.

When Ruslan returned home, he found that it had been badly damaged by shrapnel.

“I needed to repair the roof and drain the water because everywhere was full of holes.”

Ukrainian man in grey t-shirt with his back to the camera looks at damage to his property after bombing

ShelterBox’s response

ShelterBox has been working in Ukraine since the significant escalation of the war in February 2022.

In those early months, we supported refugees in Moldova with hygiene items like toothpaste, soap, and sanitary products, as well as cash. We provided mattresses to collective centres in Lviv, to give people who had left their homes somewhere to sleep.

We also provided shelter kits, including tarpaulins, tools and rope, thermal blankets, solar lights, buckets and water carriers, and hygiene items to help people in Ukraine survive in damaged buildings.

In the second half of 2022, our teams supported people living in damaged homes, like Ruslan and Marina. At the end of the year and into 2023, our attention turned to helping people to keep warm after electricity and gas supplies were badly affected.

Starting to rebuild

Together with our partner ReliefAid, ShelterBox was able to support Ruslan and Marina with the tools and materials they needed to rebuild. They were given tarpaulin, hammers, nails, ropes, as well as thermal blankets to keep warm.

In Ruslan’s words, there was “everything we needed.”

Ruslan used the tarpaulin to put a temporary roof on his home. “We use everything every day. Not just us, but the other people in our village who need to do repairs.

“I don’t know what we would have done without ShelterBox and ReliefAid’s help. It’s not just money but also time. The longer we left it the more damage there would have been.”

Ukrainian man in grey t-shirt looks back at his house. The roof has been repaired with tarpaulin after bombing

Not alone

Knowing they were not alone was important for Ruslan and helped to keep up morale.

He said: “It helped knowing that there was someone there, even though I couldn’t see them, looking out for us. We got the help we needed when we needed it. They weren’t just empty words.”

The family is still trying to complete the repairs inside their home, including their son’s bedroom. Ruslan said: “School starts soon, and we want Timothy to be back in his room as soon as possible but we don’t know how long it will take.”

Restoring the heating system is another major concern. “We think that the cost of gas could be huge and perhaps there will not be a supply at all. We are looking at buying a wood fire to help keep us warm.”

Families across Ukraine still need urgent support as the conflict rages on. Together we can work towards a world where no family goes without shelter after disaster. Join us.

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Read more

The Ukraine Crisis

ShelterBox is supporting families affected by the war in Ukraine. Read more about our three projects.

Stories from the Ukraine War

Olga and Dina are some of the people we’ve supported in Ukraine. Read their story here.