ua en

"Luckily the shell hit the other room." The mother of eight children from Lyubotyn told how they live on a street where every house was damaged by shelling.

"Luckily the shell hit the other room." The mother of eight children from Lyubotyn told how they live on a street where every house was damaged by shelling.

Natalya from Lyubotyn has eight children: three are aged 10, 12, and 16, and the older ones have left to study and look for work. The woman remembers the beginning of the war, the shelling at home, and recalling those days with anxiety.

"At first, the children were very scared - I couldn't pull them out of the basement at all. I say: let's go, because you will get sick here. And they don't: we'll just sit here and that's all, they say. Little by little, they got used to it, began to treat it more normally. But even now, it happens, they get scared when they hear the bombs: "Oh, what to do?!" Natalya says.

At the end of February 2022, she recalls, the Russians dropped aerial bombs on Lyubotyn, and the house where the family lives came under fire from cluster munitions. The roof of the building broke through - and in general, Natalya says, there was not a single house left on the street without damage, many had at least broken windows.

Fortunately we were in a part of the house that wasn’t affected by the shelling. There was repair work going on there, so it was empty. It's scary to imagine if it had happened where we were. The rooms where they lived were already damaged. Shrapnel rattled into the walls, and could have killed someone. We covered the windows with anything we could find and slept on the floor," Natalya says.

According to her, she had to repair the roof on her own, without waiting for help from the state, because the weather conditions left no options.

"Now, unless there are explosions somewhere close, then we don't go to the basement. Somehow it blew so hard in the village of Korotich that a strong shock wave reached us. But in general, there are fewer bombs - it's almost quiet," the woman says.

Although she survived, she did not dare to evacuate. She says that almost all her neighbours have left, at the same time, many displaced people have appeared who fled from more dangerous areas and are renting housing here: "If anything, we will go to the Poltava region, we have relatives there. But now, you can say, it's quiet."

Her children would like to go abroad, away from the terror. "The shelling affects them a lot, of course. The younger ones are asking to leave for Poland, the eldest daughter settled and works there even before the war. But I tell them: there are a lot of you, I don't know how I will cope with you there," Natalya shares.

Currently, children study at school online, but there are "unofficial offline" days when you can come to study in the basement, the woman says: "They sometimes go there to pass tests and other papers. But it is very cold there, so they immediately start to get sick. And nobody goes to school at all - it's too dangerous."

Natalya is raising her children herself, because she has been divorced for a long time. She admits there was domestic violence and scandals within the marriage. The father does not help the younger children, but when the woman requests help he refuses to pay alimony. Thanks to the help from the "Family to Family" project of "Caritas-Spes Ukraine", Natalya was able to buy gadgets for the children to study. Also, these funds helped to arrange life in dormitories for older children studying in higher educational institutions.

The woman hopes that soon the younger ones will be able to return to their hobbies of drawing and volleyball, because clubs and sports sections are gradually starting to work in Lyubotyn.

Despite the difficulties, Natalya says, the family tries to see the positives around them. To be saved during the shelling, to survive the most difficult days and to receive significant financial support for them is a lot, she believes: "I would like the war to just end and the children to stop being afraid."

The Ukrainian-Polish project "Family to Family" has been running since October last year in the Kyiv-Zhytomyr Diocese, and since February this year - in the Kharkiv-Zaporizhzhia Diocese. Caritas-Spes Ukraine implements it in cooperation with and thanks to the support of Caritas Poland. The project is aimed at supporting Ukrainian families in financial need and affected by the consequences of the war in Ukraine.

19 December 2023
Система Orphus
Переверните устройство для лучшего отображения