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Ukraine conflict: I fled with my entire family

Helena is 91 and comes from a village in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine. She fled the conflict with her family, and now four generations are living in cramped temporary accommodation in Lviv. Both Helena and her great-grandson, 21-year-old Evgeny, told us about their experiences.

“I fled to Lviv with my family. Now there are seven of us here, the whole family, four generations.

I have a sister, she is 96 years old. She stayed there. I'm very worried because we have no contact with her.

I have two children, a daughter and a son. My son fled to Stuttgart. My two great-grandchildren are also here: Evgeny, 27 and Anton, 15.

I used to live with my daughter, 70, her husband and a nephew. We have a small farm with two goats, chickens, rabbits, and turkeys. I used to work in a measuring instruments factory, but that was a long time ago.

We now live in a classroom in a Higher School of Foreign Languages. We are well taken care of here.

I deal with the situation as best I can. To this day I still do everything myself. I want to go home. I can't understand all this. 

I have already experienced all this. In 1947, after the war, we had a great famine in Ukraine. I don't want to experience something like this again.”

Helena, 91

"I work in the Kramatorsk water utility. We brought our great-grandmother from the village to Kramatorsk.

The Russians fired rockets at us once in 2014. Then until recently we were a happy city. There were heavy rocket attacks again yesterday.

The situation was very difficult for us lately. There was no electricity and no network reception. We no longer knew whether our neighbours, friends, relatives are still alive.

On 13 March we all got on an evacuation train. The journey here took a day and a half. We were in a reception camp for a short time, and then for almost a month here at this school.

There are nine people in this classroom, the seven of us and two more. We get along well, but it's very cramped.

Great-grandma cries every day. We all long for home."

Evgeny, 27

Thanks to donations from the public, Helena doesn't have to worry about her family going hungry during her stay despite the cramped conditions. With our partners, we are providing specially tailored food packages so older people can continue to feed themselves and their families.

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Last updated: Jun 17 2022

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