kleine herzen has been supporting since the beginning of the war in cooperation with the “Successful Ukraine Foundation” under the project name “Help Bucha“ Over 30 families and their children through sponsorships and donations in kind. In a series of short portraits we want to make the fate of children visible so that we never forget what this war is doing to the children of the invaded Ukraine.

These stories will forever be etched in our collective memory. They brutally remind us of the human cost of war, the toll it takes on innocent lives and the scars it leaves behind. Children, the most vulnerable among us, suffer the greatest hurt as their future is forever changed by the horrors they have witnessed.

Support Ukraine and the children of war.

Today: One of many stories of resilience, escape and the pursuit of hope

25. February 2024

Irina, mother of three children, lived in the Kherson region in the village Kostohryzove. The family worked in agriculture, growing vegetables and fruits to support themselves. The invasion and occupation of the region destroyed all their plans and hopes. Despite the fear, the family tried to remain steadfast and continue working. The threats from the occupiers (Russians) increased day by day: they searched the houses for money and valuables, took away food and livestock and threatened the family. There was even a threat that the children would be sent to a boarding school in northern Russia if they did not follow the Russian curriculum.

Irina was particularly worried about her eldest son Ivan, who was in the 11th grade and might be sent to a cadet school and forced to side with the Russians. The situation worsened with increasing shootings, searches and unbearable threats. Given these circumstances, Irina's husband urgently ordered her to go to a safe place.

The journey was extremely arduous, full of interrogations, humiliation and threats, especially for the youngest daughter Nastia, which posed an enormous emotional challenge. The children were scared, tired and hungry, but they endured all the pain. When they finally reached Ukrainian-controlled territory, the family burst into tears of happiness.

Now they live in a center of SaveUkraine for internally displaced people, where they are provided with the essentials and receive support. Irina continues to worry about her husband and relatives who remained in the occupied territories. Nevertheless, they do not give up hope that one day they will return to their homeland and embrace their family again.

Orphan siblings Serhii and Kseniia grew up with a foster family in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine. As a full-scale Russian invasion took place, the siblings were thrust into the turmoil of occupation.

In the summer of 2022, Ksenia, who has just graduated from secondary school, will be forcibly sent to a technical school in Russia. At the same time, under pressure from the authorities, eleven-year-old Serhii is sent by his foster mother to a children's camp in Russia under the pretext of a “vacation”.

The liberation of Vovchansk September 2022 was a turning point, but Serhii remained stuck behind the front lines and unable to find his foster mother in Ukraine. Instead, a Russian foster family took him in, forcibly severing the connection between brother and sister.

Despite the physical separation, Serhii has cleverly found a way to maintain contact with his sister. Tragically, Serhii's new foster parents discovered communication and began to apply psychological pressure, causing him to become distant from his sister and lose hope of returning home.

Aware of the danger of losing her brother forever, Ksenia worked tirelessly for several days to persuade Serhii to return to Ukraine. When Ksenia finally met Serhii, she found herself confronted with a brother deeply influenced by propaganda against her and her homeland, and faced moments in which hope was almost in danger of bursting. But the belief that her brother wanted to return and needed her support fueled Ksenia's determination. She repeatedly emphasized that the people of Ukraine cared about her.

Fortunately, Serhii and Ksenia encountered no further obstacles on their way home, thanks to the dedicated efforts and support of Ukrainian volunteers. Together they successfully returned to Ukraine, their moving story testifying to the enduring strength of family bonds and the resilience of those determined to overcome the odds of war and Russian propaganda.

The story of 11-year-old Angelina Mariupol is a heartbreaking tragedy. It is a story that defies our understanding and that leaves us with a heavy heart and tears in our eyes. The pain she endured, the loss of her family members and her dearest friends, is a burden no child should bear.

The story of Mariupol, a once-thriving city now wiped from the map and reduced to ruin, has sent shockwaves around the world. Nevertheless, it is the residents' personal stories that touch us the most.

Angelina's grandfather met a tragic end when he was swept away from her in a violent explosion next to her home. He was buried by Chechen soldiers, although one can hardly speak of a proper burial. The girl and her family still cannot cope with the loss of their grandfather and their city.


Angelina had a very dear friend, Ania. During the numerous bombings, Ania and her family found refuge in the basement of their nine-story building. Their building was bombed and everyone who had taken refuge there was buried. None of them came out alive.
Angelina suffers greatly from the loss of Ania.

Today Angelina lives with her family in Bush, northeast of Kiev, a city that was bombed at the beginning of the war and where the ruins of houses that had not yet been rebuilt were replaced by containers. The girl draws a lot, which helps her not to think about the bad memories. All drawings refer to Ukraine.


Sasha is a boy from a family of three boys, of which he is the middle one. The three children are raised by their mother and lived in the Kherson region lived that was occupied by Russia.

Sasha missed almost 2 years of formal education due to the war, leaving him with a huge gap in his knowledge. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of the Ukrainian military, they managed to escape the region. The time under the occupation, with its constant bombing and shelling, disrupted their lives so much that even now it is difficult for the whole family to get used to a normal daily routine. The Russians confiscated or destroyed all of their electronic devices and denied them access to the Internet and information. As Sasha's mother shared these heartbreaking memories with us, she could barely hold back her tears.

Sasha now lives with his family near Kiev and shows courage and an irrepressible will to master his life. Sasha will soon receive a tablet that will enable him to learn and connect with the world and friends.