War is a constant stress: first because of the danger, then because you lose everything

War is a constant stress: first because of the danger, then because you lose everything


The situation in our temporary accommodation facilities for internally displaced persons is always a reflection of the situation in the country. Now all the shelters are full. The previously settled citizens have been joined by new residents, mostly from Kharkiv, Sumy and Dnipro regions. "PrykhystOK" in Uzhhorod, designed for mothers with children, currently accommodates 18 people, 10 of whom are children. Among the new residents are Mariya Holinska and her 7-year-old son Bohdan from Bilopillya, Sumy Oblast. The family from the border town left their home because of enemy shelling.

"The beginning of the full-scale war caught our family in Kharkiv, where I was working at the time. After several days of shelling, we managed to leave there by evacuation train to Lviv. We lived there with relatives until the middle of summer 2022. For family reasons, we returned home to Sumy region. We could hear explosions and gunshots around us, but Bilopillya remained a relatively calm town. This relative calm lasted for a year, but in March 2023, the first aerial bombs were dropped on the settlement. That’s when the residents began to leave. Then, in the summer, several educational and social institutions and government offices were destroyed by enemy shelling. These were definitely not military facilities. Our problem is the proximity of the russian border, only 8 kilometers away. In the spring of this year, three aerial bombs hit Bilopillya. We witnessed it, and fortunately, we survived. After that, due to the security situation, we stayed at home all the time, going out only to buy food. The shelling intensified, and people you know personally became injured and killed, because the town is small", says Mariya Holinska.

The security situation and the need to provide the child with proper care and medical support forced Mariya to decide to leave – via Kyiv to Uzhhorod.

"There were several unsuccessful attempts to find some social housing, and then through acquaintances I found out the contacts of this shelter, and since May 1 I have been living here with my son. Currently, I am taking care of my child’s health while on vacation at my own expense. When the situation normalizes, I will probably return to work, but now I have other priorities. I need medical and psychological support, especially for my son. The child felt the situation, my condition. It’s a constant stress: first because of the danger, then because you lose everything, especially the understanding of your tomorrow. In Uzhhorod, we calmed down a bit, the city balances us out with its slowness and allows us to gather our strength. We respond more calmly to air raid alerts, although the app still shows the Sumy location", says Mariya.

As in most of the previous stories, people visit Uzhhorod as a place of forced displacement for the first time. The stage of adaptation and socialization takes place in an express format. The team of the Uzhhorod Shelter helps residents in every way possible with solving everyday issues, provides psychosocial and legal support. This is important, among other things, to understand that in such difficult life circumstances, a person is not left alone with problems and fears.

"PrykhystOK" is a part of the project "Mother and Child Home for IDPs in Uzhhorod", which the Medical Aid Committee in Zakarpattya is implementing together with "terre des hommes Deutschland e.V.".

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