Helping to start a new life for a volunteer who worked with families of political prisoners

  • Story


Unfortunately I can't give you my name, as I am the only one in my family who managed to escape from the regime. My husband has recently been released from the penal colony. But we are again separated by circumstances.

My husband was arrested for participating in the peaceful protests of August 9-10, 2020 a few weeks later. He was sentenced to be incarcerated in a maximum security colony. At the time, I had no idea he would serve the full sentence! At the time of his arrest we were not yet married, but this difficult situation brought us very close, and we signed in the pre-trial detention center. At this important moment for any family, we were not even allowed to hug. During our separation, I imagined a million times how we would meet after his release. But the regime ruined our plans. I had to leave Belarus for fear of criminal prosecution. I did not have time to wait for my husband just a few days before his release.

While my husband was in the colony, all the financial difficulties of supporting him in prison fell on my shoulders. I coped only thanks to the help of indifferent Belarusians. When I was handing over another transfer to my husband, I met people like me near the pre-trial detention center — many of them had their husbands, sons or daughters taken away. At that moment I realized that only by sticking together we could pass the hard way we had to go. I approached one of the human rights organizations with the idea of gathering all relatives together, and they supported me. I had no special education or experience in volunteering, but I did everything I could: I organized safe exchange of information between foundations and families of political prisoners, visited families of political prisoners, and coordinated volunteers.

My husband and I planned to leave together after his release. A month before my departure, my telegram account was hacked several times. I realized that I was in danger, but like many people I hoped that I would not be affected. A trusted acquaintance warned me twice. The first time he informed me that I was in development and should be as careful as possible. The second time he told me to leave immediately. The third time I didn't need to be warned. I packed what I had on hand and left for Poland. Some Belarusians I knew took me in. A few days after my departure, I found out that they searched my house. They didn't give me any papers. But they hinted to my relatives that “I should answer for my actions” — meaning my help to the families of political prisoners and numerous interviews with “extremist” media.

I can't bear not being there for my husband and not being able to support him. And now I have to ask for help myself. Once in Poland, I was sure that I could find a good job and learn the language quickly. However, I faced the problem of adaptation and had to consult a psychologist. Now I live in my friends' apartment, but soon I will have to leave. I lost the job I had here due to downsizing and now I am actively looking for a more reliable way to earn money. For this purpose I need to get additional knowledge, for which I don't have free money. I don't even have enough for simple household things. I have to start all over again and so far I am financially unable to cope.

I would be grateful for any help!

How much is needed?


€600 for two months' rent
€500 for educational and language courses
€250 for household expenses 
€150 for medical services

The collection is over. Сollected:
€ 1 500
The collection is over. Сollected: € 1 500