Tatiana (53) from Odesa, Ukraine

Tatiana’s journey as a Ukrainian refugee in Moldova

Tatiana meets daily with other Ukrainian refugees in Moldova to practice Nordic walking together.


‘I’ve heard about this sport, but I didn’t know what Nordic walking was until now. After today’s workout, I think it’s great to stay fit, especially for older people. The entire body is involved, from the legs to the hands.’

Tatiana (53) from Odesa, Ukraine

Tatiana (53) from Odesa, Ukraine


In March 2022, 53-year-old Tatiana fled the war in Odesa, Ukraine and took refuge with her relatives in Sîngerei, Moldova. She was born and raised in this small city, but called Odesa home, having lived there for over 30 years.

Tatiana arrived alone in Sîngerei – her husband and son remain behind in Odesa. She was loath to leave, but as the bombs kept hitting close to home, her husband convinced her to travel to Moldova – a long trip of over 36 hours. ‘I feel safe here,’ she says. ‘We are supported morally, physically and financially, everyone is helping us. It feels like home.’’

Play video Tatiana (53) from Odesa, Ukraine, practices Nordic walk in Moldova

Tatiana loves Nordic walking along with other refugees and the volunteers of the Safe Community Space in Sîngerei.

She is almost always at the head of the group. This outdoor exercise reminds her of her daily walks with her dog back home. This project is implemented by HelpAge with financial support from World Vision Ukraine Response.

Tatiana meets daily with other Ukrainian refugees to practice Nordic walking together. They have been provided with necessary equipment such as walking sticks and exercise gear. She believes this is a great opportunity to make friends and take care of her health.

‘The refugees aren’t forgotten,’ Tatiana claims. ‘I feel like I am of use here, and an integral part of the local community as well.’

Tatiana’s biggest dream is to return to her family in Ukraine. She speaks daily with them and is also able to visit at times.

Older people during the Ukraine war

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