Portraits from the War in Ukraine: Episode 1, Monika
“I'm never, never crying because you have to be strong. You have to give them support, give them security”
In this first instalment of ‘Portraits from the War in Ukraine’, we meet Monika Ekiert, a humanitarian worker at the Polish-Ukrainian Border. She shares stories from the border, including the moment she was approached by a woman arriving alone with 9 children – her own, and those entrusted to her by family members and neighbours who stayed behind.
Monika also highlights some of the different challenges humanitarian efforts and refugees face, from predators at the border to limited housing and temporary integration.
Though many Ukrainians have no choice but to remain in Poland, Monika tells us: "What we saw [...] after the massacre in Bucha, the people decided to come back [to Ukraine] and fight for their country".
For now, though, Monika says, “We don't call [...] Ukrainian people as refugees, we call them guests.”
Watch Monika's portrait above, and explore the full series of portraits here.