Fight for the dream during the war and 1000 km from home

How teenage girl is fighting for her dream, during the war and far from her hometown, which is now occupied.

Meet Ksenia, a participant in our School of Success project. She, like every teenager in Ukraine, felt the effects of the war like no other. Her hometown of Rubizhne is occupied and nearly destroyed, and some friends have been out of touch for months. But despite everything, she continues to play sports and prepares for the European Karate Championship and finds motivation for it.

Our team talked to her and found out how she feels now and how she manages not to give up.

- How are you feeling now?
- Now my mood is normal, but it hurts to look at what is happening in the country and my city: broken homes and burning buildings.

- How did you manage to leave Rubizhne and are your relatives and friends safe?
- We left under fire. Mortar shells exploded a few meters from our car. Fortunately, no shrapnel hit the car, but when we approached a checkpoint, it was shot.
I am happy that all my relatives are safe. However, some classmates stayed in Rubizhne and have not been in touch for a couple of months. I don't even know what's going on with them. The last time I contacted my classmate was on March 9th.

- What is happening in your city now, has your house and school survived?
- The city is 80% destroyed and under occupation. The windows in the houses were destroyed by the blast wave.There have been no communications: gas, water, electricity and communications for a couple of months. In some areas it was, but now it is nowhere to be found. There are a lot of Chechens in the city who broke the locks on the doors of all the apartments and stole my father's car. The worst thing is that there are virtually no people left in the city, and it is impossible to leave.

- You are currently preparing for the European Karate Championship, tell us how you manage to train in such difficult conditions, what and who motivates and supports you?
- I feel support from people around me. This is first of all my family and coach. Sport helps me to cope with emotions and, on the contrary, motivates me, because I want to stand up for my country on the international arena and glorify it. I will not be able to fight, but I believe that I will help my country in this way.
I hope I will be able to raise the flag on the first step at the European Championships in Amsterdam. Of course, it hurts to look at the situation in the country, but I want to show everyone that our country will survive and win.

- What will you do after our victory?
- I really want to return to my hometown. However, I do not know when this will happen, because everything there is destroyed and everything will have to be restored. In general, I would like to continue to develop karate, the national team, to involve children in sports so that they are strong and grow up healthy.
And of course I have a dream to win the Olympics, and I hope it will come true. I want to win and raise the flag of our state at the Olympics.

- What advice would you give to athletes who have lost motivation to play sports due to the war?
- Do not be discouraged, this is the first.And secondly, go in for sports, because it helps, and during training you forget about all this. Sport helps to cope with difficulties and get moral relief. In addition, in our time, on the contrary, you should do sports, because you need to be able to protect yourself.

We are very proud that even during the war our fighters & dreamers are unbreakable and are an example to many of their peers. We will all keep our fists up for Ksenia at the European Championships and we hope that the next story will be about how she managed to take first place.

Our team is actively working to help all those affected by the war. You can join our team at: