If you ask Ana to describe her character in three words, the first one that comes to mind is purposeful. An accurate characteristic for the young Ukrainian mother, who moved to Cluj only two years ago, but is working really hard on building a new life for herself and her family in Romania. “We’re starting to feel really comfy here.”

In 2022, Ana came to Cluj with her husband and two children, leaving her hometown Charkov behind. “At first, my purposefulness completely broke, because when the war started, we didn’t have plans and purpose anymore.” But Ana always stayed optimistic. “Step by step, I’m rebuilding life, because of finding my purpose back in this new country.”

World Vision

What really helped Ana and her family integrate in Romania, is the help she and her family get from World Vision, a humanitarian organization providing all sorts of social help for vulnerable people. “At first, my daughter found it really hard to adapt, but when she attended kindergarten at World Vision, she made some friends.” Ana says proudly, “It really helped her integration process.”

Her daughter attending kindergarten brought a lot of other advantages for Ana. “I’ve got a lot more time for myself right now, which is really important for me. It gives me the opportunity to work on my own goals and future.” She’s not sure about what that future is gonna look like. “In Ukraine, I worked as a lawyer. But because of the language barrier, I don’t think I can pick up that profession again. That’s a real bummer.” Besides that, Ana and her family are settling really well in Romania and are planning to stay here. “My husband did everything to make our life here as good as it was in Ukraine. I feel very comfortable here because of that.”


Apart from World Vision and her husband, there were a lot of other things that made Ana feel home. “When we first came here, Cluj immediately reminded us of Kharkov.” The people in Romania also played a very important role in giving her the feeling of being at home. “When I first came here, I felt very welcomed by the helpful locals. They were so heartwarming to me and my family, I couldn’t be more thankful.”

The fact they’re feeling at home and are going to stay in Romania gives Anna and her family motivation to rebuild their life. “I’m picking up old hobbies again and I’m now really starting to look at jobs.” She’s already got big plans for her new profession. “My husband has his own business. I want to work at that business and expand it.” The feeling of settling also gives her a lot of rest. “When I first came here, I lost purpose, but now I can finally start making real plans again.” 

When being asked if she has a message she wants to tell, Ana’s eyes directly begin to sparkle. “The main thing we have is the peaceful, blue sky.” She says. “I wish for everyone to have it, because it is so important.” That powerful message marked the end of this conversation, but is the beginning of the bright future in Cluj that’s in front of Ana and her beautiful family.

By Willemijn Bakker