Iuliia Balaban works at Kamet-Steel as a lead economist in the analysis and planning department. She is raising her daughter Victoria alone. In March 2022, due to hostilities, she lost her home and job and had to seek shelter in peaceful Ukrainian territory. Kamianske became the new home of Iuliia and little Vika.
However, native Mariupol is forever in Iuliia's heart. Only warm memories are associated with it. There she dreamed of a happy future, built her life, gave birth to a daughter, had a decent job, a great team, her own home, beloved friends, and felt like a happy person. Nevertheless, the terrible events of February 24, 2022, changed her life completely.
- My Mariupol was destroyed by the enemy within a few weeks. I did not want to leave my home to the last. Every day I hoped that this disaster would pass. I remember March 9, 2022, my daughter and I were with my parents. An aerial bomb hit the neighbouring house. I will never forget that terrible sound, the shaking house, how the windows broke, and even the front door was blown away. After that, my parents and I decided to leave our home and went to the bomb shelter, closer to the city center. We thought it would be safer there. However, disaster caught us there as well. Every day we waited for the "green corridor" to open and allow us to leave. Time passed, and along with it, hopes were lost. My father was wounded during another shelling. It was extremely dangerous to stay now, and to get out of there was like some kind of scary quest. Later, there was a chance to leave the city, but, unfortunately, we were only able to reach the village of Nikolske, because the way was safe only in that direction. And only a month later, my family and I were able to leave for Zaporizhzhya. I don't even want to remember this trip because it was hell. Thank God, we all survived.
Thanks to Metinvest, which has been supporting employees affected by the war since the beginning of the war, Iuliia did not remain without a job. And today she pursues her profession. The events experienced in Mariupol, of course, hurt her emotional state. Therefore, participation in the psychological rehabilitation project "Unbreakable Mom" from the "Masha Foundation" was an invaluable gift for the woman. The vacation took place in the "Morshynskyi" recreation centre in the city of Morshyn. The picturesque landscape and the power of mountains and forests had a favourable effect on the mood of vacationers.
- These three weeks were incredible self-improvement among professional psychologists. On this project, I acquired my bundle of knowledge and techniques for stabilizing the psycho-emotional state during the war, as well as an extraordinary charge of energy, and I overcame many fears. Each of us remembers our state when we arrived at this project. Emotional tension, reduced interest in everyday activities, irritability, and despair were observed. But the specialists of the project are just incredible. They went with us through all our fears and helped us get over them. They taught us techniques, with the help of which we were able to put our emotional state in order, and also returned our smiles. There were many calming techniques, but one of them, namely art therapy, revealed the potential for creativity, not only mothers, but also children turned out to be very talented artists. I thank all psychologists for their professionalism, especially my psychologist, Mrs. Olena, for her understanding, warm attitude, and faith in me. I am sincerely grateful to child psychologists Ania and Olena for taking care of my daughter.
I would like to express my gratitude to the sponsors, organizers, and executors of the "Unbreakable Mom" project from the "Masha Foundation", which was joined by Metinvest's "Saving Life" humanitarian initiative. A big thank to all our wonderful psychologists for getting us back to normal life! It was with the help of specialists that we, mothers, found the strength and resources to go on and raise our children. Every day for us is a small victory over ourselves. Now we all look forward to the Victory of Ukraine and peace on our land!