Natalia’s Resilient Climb:  A Journey of Healing and Unity

Natalias-Experience- MSF

My name is Natalia, and my journey is one of strength and healing. My husband, Mykhailo Zaremba was an officer in the Ukrainian Navy and a pilot of the Mi-14 search and rescue helicopter. He was a hero, an inspiration for our family. Mykhailo and his crew were part of a mission to liberate Zmiiny Island, but on May 7, 2022, a Russian missile struck their helicopter, and the life that once was changed forever. Mykhailo, my husband and the father of our two sons, Illia and Andrii, was taken from us too soon.

As a mother, it is most difficult for me to accept the fact that the children are left without their father. He was their role model, their guide. Now, I navigate the challenges of their upbringing. I’m afraid I won’t be able to give them even half of what their dad could give them. It is really very difficult without his support and help.

It was through this struggle that I was introduced to Mountain Seed Foundation (MSF). The opportunity to join the Healing Base Camp (HBC) was extended to me through the social protection center in Mykolaiv. 

The experiences at Healing Base Camp showed me where to find peace and where to draw inspiration.

Amit Oren, PhD, Mountain Seed’s Psychologist, taught us to use daily exercises like the power pose, power breathing, intentions, and three good things. Exercises like these make it possible to feel strong and calm at the same time. And what is very important to me is the ability to notice the good things throughout each day, helping to not focus on all the bad things that happen around us. Now, when my son is very excited and he cannot calm down, or he gets angry, we use the psychologist’s advice, namely the power breathing. And it really does help.

For those facing similar challenges, my first piece of advice is to definitely go to the mountains and climb your way to the top. Mountains heal. Second, don’t be alone with your grief, because there are many people who are genuinely willing to help you! It helps to understand that you are not alone, that there are people who will really understand you. Everyone shares their experiences that help them live through this pain. I found new friends in the HBC. Some of them are in the same situation and now we continue communication and support each other. 

I would also like to tell you about my final summit: climbing to the top of the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier with my two children. It was a real challenge for me, extremely difficult, but I did not regret it for a second. Thanks to this challenge, I realized how strong we are together—my boys and I. Now we are ready to overcome any ‘mountains.’ Thank you to the team at HBC for this, for the experience we gained.

The MSF team is made of excellent professionals who share their skills, knowledge, experiences, and life stories.The communication with the HBC team had its impact. I learned to look at everyday situations with positivity and ease. The team members were able to find a common language with each child without any problems, and even regardless of the language barrier. They give inspiration to act! They are a loving team that provides incredible support, creating unforgettable experiences, and the realization that you can conquer any peaks. Now, I know that mountains give you hope and although you are small compared to the mighty peaks, you are still an integral part of this world. Climbing showed me that strength resides within us; the only true failure is giving up. We are now on the same rope, which means we can count on the support of others.

It is my hope that the rope that connects us all will continue to grow. 

As I look ahead, my goals are clear: find a separate apartment, discover a fulfilling job, and nurture my children to find hobbies for their development. Now I really want to continue traveling and open new horizons, meet new people, learn from them, and get out of my comfort zone. Because I realized while in the camp that what seems impossible to me is only in my head, I can do much more than I used to believe.

You have given us an incredible experience and inspiration for a lifetime. We are very grateful for this, for the fact that you appeared in our lives. And I believe that such acquaintances in life do not happen by chance.

I wish you at Healing Base Camp all the best and hope that you always find inspiration to move on. Your work is invaluable and incredibly needed. I hope that you will always be supported and helped. Let’s grow the rope that connects us all.

There is strength in unity!
Glory to Ukraine!
Glory to heroes!

Sun Flower art from Ukraine


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Healing Base Camp: Planting Seeds Of Hope To Restore What War Has Stolen
As the fight inside Ukraine continues, many families continue to endure the physical and psychological burdens of war. The cost of this war will be realized for generations to come, but WE CAN HELP.