If you could write a letter to yourself, one year in the past, what would it say? What advice and encouragement would you give yourself?

Now imagine writing that letter after experiencing war and fleeing to another country.

Last year, for millions of people in Ukraine, the war ripped away the life they once knew. As the days, weeks, and months dragged on, people fled across borders—into neighbouring countries and further afield like here in the United Kingdom. The normal lives they had before became unrecognisable. 

We asked a handful of Ukrainian people, both staff members and refugees we have supported, to write a letter to their past self, before the war began. These letters are both a heartwarming and devastating reflection on what it means to live through 12 months of war. A timeless message of strength and hope stands at the centre of these letters, despite how much their lives have been disrupted.

A letter to myself

Hear from Bohdana, Inna, Yuliia, Anna, Helen, and Anna as they speak to themselves a year ago, before the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine.