Our last blog, “We Don’t Want to Survive. We Want to Live.” tells Alya’s story, a young woman from Ukraine who has been doing volunteer work since the start of Russia’s war. She’s now living in her hometown of Serhiivka helping those in need.

Alya has recently established a legal non-profit organization, “Faith and Mercy,” to raise funds and source supplies to support the small community in Serhiivka that is suffering not only from the effects of the war on the whole country, but also from two brutal missile attacks on civilian homes and recreational centers.

Listen to our interview with Alya. She shares her experience living in Kharkiv as the Russian’s attacked and reflects on how the war has changed her. She also shares information on “Faith and Mercy” and the aid that’s urgently needed in Serhiivka. 

Serhiivka isn’t on the front lines, but the situation is still dire for many people living there following Russia’s missile strikes in early July.

Serhiivka is a picturesque town in southwestern Ukraine on the Black Sea coast. On July 1st, Serhiivka was hit by two Russian missile strikes. A tourist destination with no military activity in the area at the time, Serhiivka was an unexpected target. Russia’s attack on Serhiivka left over twenty people dead and many more injured. The strikes devastated the town. This was a clear attack on the civilian population and clear evidence of war crimes.

In addition to the tragic death toll, the injured, and the devastation to buildings and infrastructure, another major roadblock—literally—that Serhiivka is facing is that it is cut off from the larger part Ukraine. Access is a bridge over a river, and the Russians had already destroyed that lifeline. The primary way to get into the town now is to go through Moldova, where a temporary corridor has been opened up.

Many people who were able to leave Serhiivka have gone, but Alya is desperately trying to get supplies to the people who stayed. She recently established the non-profit “Faith and Mercy” to raise funds to help with this effort.

The people of Serhiivka have several urgent needs.

  • Many of the survivors of the missile strikes were seriously injured and are still in need of medical support.
  • The harsh winter is already taking its toll as temperatures drop near or below freezing. The Odesa region is one of the worst areas in terms of access to power; at the time of our interview with Alya, residents of Serhiivka were lucky to have 3 hours of power each day to warm themselves and recharge batteries for their cell phones. The people are in desperate need of anything that will help to keep them warm.
  • With such limited access to power, battery-powered lamps are needed—that includes headlamps for doctors who need to treat patients, often in the dark.
  • Generally speaking, the people are also struggling to get the basic essentials, including food. Since Serhiivka is a tourist destination, there are few jobs available. Remote work is impossible with no power. People have limited resources to buy what they need. Limited resources also makes it challenging for many people to get to the closest town where they can buy food, medicine, and other supplies that become available; those with cars simply can’t afford the gas to fuel them and those without can’t buy a bus ticket to get to the nearby town.
  • One more essential need are starlink boosters, so that teachers can return to the classroom and the children of Serhiivka can resume proper education.  Without the boosters, they can’t access the Starlink network.

Following is more information about “Faith and Mercy” and how to donate:

Faith and Mercy
67780, Ukraine, Odesa region, Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky district, Serhiivka town, Chornomorska str., 13, ap.30

Non-profit legal entity identification code: 44820015

Visit Faith and Mercy on Facebook and Instagram.

Donations can be made through Paypal to: faithandmercy.ua@gmail.com.