11-year-old boy escapes ukraine all by himself, reunites with family in slovakia

11-Year-Old Boy Escapes Ukraine All By Himself, Reunites With Family In Slovakia

Hassan Al-Khalaf is just one of the estimated 1 million children who have fled Ukraine since the war began on Feb. 24.

“Reports from the border suggest that some children are arriving unaccompanied after being sent by family members who were unable to leave Ukraine but wanted their children to be safe from ground attack and aerial explosions,” the charity Save the Children said in a release.

11-year-old boy escapes ukraine all by himself, reunites with family in slovakia
Image via Shutterstock

“Others have been separated from their families in the chaos of fleeing their homes. Many of the solo arrivals are under 14 and showing signs of psychological distress.”

The boy arrived in Slovakia by train and foot, traveling over 620 miles west. The 11-year-old had only a plastic bag with his belongings, including his passport and a phone number written on his hand.

Border guards in Slovakia and volunteers joined together to support Hassan during his terrifying and lonely trek, using the phone number to help reunite the boy with his older siblings including his brother, who has been studying in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava.

11-year-old boy escapes ukraine all by himself, reunites with family in slovakia
Image via Shutterstock

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Hassan said in an interview at a pro-Ukraine and anti-war rally in the Slovakian capital Friday, “I got my hope from my mom wanting me to go.”

“My hope carried me on my way,” he said, according to Reuters.

Pisecka Yulia Volodymyrivna, Hassan’s mother – a widow, made the heartwrenching decision to send her 11-year-old out of Ukraine for his safety and stayed behind to care for her 84-year-old mother, who is not able to walk.

11-year-old boy escapes ukraine all by himself, reunites with family in slovakia
Image via Shutterstock

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Volodymyrivna thanked the border guards and volunteers in Slovakia in a video statement, saying in part, “Border guards met him, they guided him holding his hand. They helped him to cross the border and let him to the other side of Slovakia. Then Slovakian volunteers met him. They fed my child. They took him to Bratislava. I thank you very much for saving my son’s life.”

“I can’t leave my mother, who is 84 years old and who can’t walk on her own. That is why I put my son on a train to the Slovakia border where he was met by people with big hearts,” she continued.

“There are people with big hearts in your small country. Please, save our children. Please protect our Ukrainian children.”

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