Ukrainian girl of 11, who lost both legs in train accident at the age of 9, forced to flee after Russian invasion


A young ukrainian girl who lost both her legs in a train accident when she was only nine, has been forced to flee her homeland with her mother and little sister after Russian invasion.

Sofia Naumenko, now 11, lived in Korosten, Ukraine, with her mother Oksana and two-year-old sister Iryna, but the family was forced to flee after war broke out.

Two years ago, Sofia was on her way to school in the railway town of Korosten when she decided to take a shortcut under a stationary train when it suddenly started moving. The resulting injuries meant that she needed to have both her legs amputated above the knee.

Sofia Naumenko, now 11, lived in Korosten, Ukraine, with her mother Oksana and two-year-old sister Iryna, but the family was forced to flee after the war broke out. Sofia lost both her legs when she was nine in a train accident (Photo: Terence Voysey)

The young man has faced further unrest after being forced to flee Ukraine with his family, who are now adjusting to a new life in Germany.

The young girl and her family faced a grueling journey from Ukraine to Krakow in Poland, including one 31 hours waiting time at the border. In Poland, they were greeted by volunteers Terence Voysey, who drove them to Stuttgart, Germany, where they are now staying at the home of a Ukrainian family.

Sir. Voysey, who is from Cornwall and has lived in the North Pole for five years with his wife Heather, said I Sofia has already been through so much in her young life and he feels she deserves a break and helps start a collection to support her and her family.

“Sofia is just the cutest little girl, and her life would be hard enough with dentures in Ukraine, even before the war took place,” he said.

“She needs prosthetic legs and her family raised money for her care, but with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it looks like the banks have collapsed and the little money they had raised has been lost.”

Terence Voysey and his wife Heather. The Cornwall couple now live in northern Poland (Photo: Terence Voysey)

While living in the UK, Mr Voysey and his wife Heather were involved in Ukrainian charities that brought children affected by Chernobyl radiation disaster to the UK for recreational stays.

The couple raised a young Ukrainian girl, now 21, and later moved to Poland.

Sir. Voysey was made aware of Sofia’s situation when a British charity in Chernobyl contacted him and told him that the family had decided to evacuate from Ukraine as a result of the war and needed help.

“They left Korosten to get to the border, but the problem was that so many road bridges had been bombed, so it took them an eternity to get there,” he explained.

“There was a 20km queue at the border, so the car driving them had no choice but to hand them over.

“A Ukrainian bus driver on his way to the border saw the little girl on her crutches and took pity on them and invited them on the bus.

“They then had 31 hours to get through the border because of the queue and the process.”

Sofia Naumenko, now 11, lived in Korosten, Ukraine, with her mother Oksana and two-year-old sister Iryna, but the family was forced to flee after the war broke out. Sofia lost both her legs when she was nine in a train accident. Sofia with her mother and sister in the taxi from the bus station (Photo: Terence Voysey)

The plan is for Sofia to be fitted with leg prostheses in Germany, but the price for these will be around 50,000 euros (42,000 pounds). The hope, however, is with refugee status, they can get help from the German government.

Mr. Voysey’s brother Steve, who lives in Plymouth, has helped him launch a fundraiser to raise some money for Sofia and her family after the hardships they have been through.

Sofia Naumenko, now 11, lived in Korosten, Ukraine, with her mother Oksana and two-year-old sister Iryna, but the family was forced to flee after the war broke out. Sofia lost both her legs when she was nine in a train accident. Sofia with her mother Oksana (Photo: Terence Voysey)

He said: “This family is still in shock as their lives have suddenly been uprooted and they are literally in a foreign land with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

“Sofia remains so positive despite everything she’s been through and I just think she deserves a break from life.”

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