In the words of Anastasiia Pyrohova: ‘I help women live through their challenges and adapt to their new lives’


Anastasiia Pyrohova is seen working in Sambir, Ukraine.
Anastasiia Pyrohova is seen working in Sambir, Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Women’s Perspectives

Two years ago, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine led to mass displacement within and outside the country as millions of Ukrainians left in search of safety and support. Anastasiia Pyrohova is a psychologist and the coordinator of the Women’s New Horizons project, run by the local group Women’s Perspectives in the Western city of Sambir, where she has lived since fleeing her native Zaporizhzhia with her family. Here, Anastasiia supports women and girls by providing psychological counselling and creating resources to help internally displaced people access essential services.

In March 2022, my family and I were fleeing from active hostilities. We did not have a clearly defined route and just wanted to get as far away as possible. We passed through several cities including Kropyvnytskyi, Lviv, Ternopil, and Truskavets. I did not want to leave Ukraine since I wanted to help the people here. Although I had never heard of Sambir before, we ended up staying here.

When I registered as an internally displaced person, I came across an advertisement for psychological assistance. As a professional psychologist, I offered my help and was accepted into the community of psychologists in Sambir. I was pleasantly surprised to find a creative environment of local volunteers, including photographers, and the College of Arts teachers. They supported me and allowed me to help others in need.

I have been helping women to overcome their problems, including forced displacement, fears, and worries. Later, I met the organization Women's Perspectives, which is supported by UN Women. After my first meeting, I realized that I had finally found the people I was looking for. They are active women who provide support to those in need, including those who have experienced violence, and who are looking for a job. 

I took on the role of coordinator for a project in Sambir community, where we conducted a needs assessment to determine needs and priorities of internally displaced people and to understand whether they are interested in joining our efforts. As a result, we created an initiative group of internally displaced women, who organized a variety of activities, including psychological and psychotherapeutic groups, art classes, and English language classes. Working in collaboration with the city council, we also established a reception office for internally displaced families.

It can be quite challenging to find yourself in an unfamiliar place, especially when you do not know where to seek help or whom to turn to. To tackle this issue, I conducted meetings to disseminate essential information to internally displaced people and created a roadmap for them. 

The road map includes detailed instructions on where internally displaced people can receive legal, social, and psychological assistance in Sambir community, as well as information regarding all medical facilities, schools, and kindergartens.

I focus on first helping people balance their emotional stability, and then helping them gain the strength to grow and take charge of their lives. 

This article is prepared within the framework of UN Women’s project “Transformative approaches to achieving gender equality in Ukraine” with financial support from Sweden, and in cooperation with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.