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A physical therapist wearing a white HI t-shirt stands next to an older woman at a center for displaced people in Ukraine

Displaced by war, Nadezhda finds strength with rehabilitation care

Like many Ukrainians, Nadezhda lives with compromised health conditions. After the war worsened her symptoms and displaced her from home, Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation specialists helped relieve pain and restore her energy.

Nadezhda was diagnosed with diabetes 22 years ago. She’s survived two strokes, two heart attacks and cervical cancer. She lost her husband and son to cancer.

“I have weakness in my legs, hypersensitivity and pain in my lower back. The shelling and stress from the war has further deteriorated my condition,” explains Nadezhda, 66. “I tried to tough it out—at my age I just want to be home— but the constant explosions forced me to leave. It was too hard to withstand.

“The explosions were very intense and even caused me to fall out of my bed. There is nowhere to escape in these moments. When I was offered to evacuate, it felt like my last hope. I did not want to, and I cannot hold back my tears when I talk about it. I left because I needed to survive.”


Receiving rehabilitation services

Nadezhda, who uses a cane, was referred to a center for displaced people, where she first met Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation team.

“I have never met such great specialists before,” she says. “They treated me with such kindness and care. Even when I’ve been hospitalized before, I have never gotten such services. Humanity & Inclusion gave me energy and power. I never expected these rehabilitation exercises to give me such good results.”

With Humanity & Inclusion’s partner physical therapist Anastasia Verbitsky, Nadezhda performs various exercises to stretch her muscles and joints, improve her balance and practice different ways of walking and bending. She also received recommendations on how to perform daily movements and actions.

“Since starting my exercises, my state has improved,” Nadezhda explains. “Before I met Humanity & Inclusion, I only wanted to walk again. Now, I believe that I can even run! I have had wonderful progress. They have helped me overcome one more condition and feel regenerated.”

Nadezhda is encouraging her fellow displaced Ukrainians to exercise, too.

“Despite my diseases, I try to help other people,” she adds. “Here at the center, I help everyone in my room. I’m not allowed to help patients stand up, but I can help them roll from one side to another. I want to encourage the others and I tell them ‘Don’t be lazy! Do the exercises!’ I will definitely continue doing the exercises myself. I want to start running and be more active.”

Looking to the future

With the war ongoing, Nadezhda plans to leave Ukraine.

“When I leave the center, I will go to Germany and stay there until the end of the war. My father was a pilot during World War II and he taught me to speak German quite well, but I have never been there before. Maybe I will even work there since I’m feeling better!

“Then, when the war ends, I want to return to my hometown. It is small but very green, and everyone knows each other. We are all very close.”

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