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Hassan Pisecka: Ukrainian boy, 11, who traveled to Slovakia alone, reunited with mom

The boy's mom was forced to send her 11-year-old son out of Ukraine for his safety and she stayed behind to care for her elderly mom
Hassan Pisecka finally met with his mother in Slovakia (Polícia Slovenskej republiky/Facebook)
Hassan Pisecka finally met with his mother in Slovakia (Polícia Slovenskej republiky/Facebook)

Hassan Pisecka, an 11-year-old boy who traveled 750 miles from his hometown in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, to the Slovakian border by himself has reunited with his mother. Hassan crossed the country with only a plastic bag, passport, and a telephone number scribbled on his hand.

Hassan's mother Julia Pisecka, who is a widow, made the heartbreaking decision to send her 11-year-old son out of Ukraine for his safety and stayed behind to care for her 84-year-old mother, who couldn't flee. On reaching the border, Hassan's smile, fearlessness, and determination won over officials, who helped him cross into Slovakia by contacting his relatives using the phone number and a note that was tied to his waist. 


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The 11-year-old boy was reunited with his mom, grandmother, and family dog in Slovakia this week. In an interview with The Sun, Hassan's mom Julia said, "The train ride was very difficult. Hundreds were crammed in a single car. But we had to escape so our family could be back together." Julia added, "I’d like to thank everyone from my heart. We have to start from scratch. We lost everything we’ve had but we’re healthy."

Hassan's story garnered global attention after it was reported that the boy made the long journey all by himself with little personal possessions. The 11-year-old boy in an interview with Good Morning Britain said that he is happy to be reunited with his siblings. His older sister translating Hassan's words said, "He says the most important is to be in the place where he has family." She continued, "He likes this city because it's safe. He doesn't know about the future because he doesn't know about the situation in Ukraine. He is not thinking about the future, he just wants to be with us."

When asked about the worst part of his journey, Hassan explained that the packed trains of people talking in languages he didn't understand was the "scariest." His sister, translating his words, said, "The train was very, very full, there were 300 people in one carriage. The kids and the people were sitting in the hall and everyone was talking in foreign languages and he wasn't understanding so that was the scariest [part of the journey] for him."

This is not the first time Hassan's family was separated. Years ago, the family had to flee Syria without Hassan's dad. Hassan's older sister Luna told The Washington Post that Hassan was a baby when his family had to leave Syria for Ukraine due to the ongoing civil war. Hassan's sister said, "He was very small and doesn't remember. I was glad for it and I hoped he would never see such war."

After Hassan was reunited with his mom and siblings, Slovakian police in a Facebook post said, "They lost everything again but this time the war didn’t take anyone away from them. They are together and that’s all that matters."