A young girl in a Ukrainian blouse.
Anastasiia, Ukraine

In the city of Odessa, Ukraine, 12-year-old Anastasiia lived a life familiar to many children. She went to school, and played with her friends. But one day, her country was attacked. On the WCP Jury, Anastasiia represents children who have experienced war and flight.

As Russian forces attacked Ukraine, their comfortable everyday life sounds were suddenly replaced with the horrifying noise of grenades. Amid this chaos, Anastasiia's family had to make a quick decision. Leaving behind most of their belongings, they fled to the safety of the countryside. There, among relatives, they found a temporary respite. But the looming shadow of the conflict caught up. Anastasiia's father soon joined the military to defend Ukraine.

One of the few things Anastasiia had time to pack was her favorite soft toy, a dragon. It reminds her of home.

As days turned to weeks, Anastasiia and her mother realised that a more permanent refuge was needed. Their journey took them all the way to Stockholm, Sweden. An elderly Swedish man, hearing their story, offered them rooms in his home.

Anastasiia now attends school, picking up the Swedish language and making new friends. She draws manga and anime, and her desk is filled with drawings. She has settled well in Sweden, but misses her father and dreams of one day soon being able to return home.

Anastasiia gives flowers to Queen Silvia of Sweden, as a thank you for helping her and the other WCP jurors to lead the WCP Ceremony in 2023.

Taking a selfie with the WCP Jury!

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