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"It's almost quiet at home - just a few explosions a day…"

A large family from Pershotravneve remained at home despite the rocket overhead and are waiting for victory

Iryna with her husband and five children faced a full-scale Russian invasion in her native village of Pershotravneve, Chuhuiv District. He says that in the beginning it was very scary because of the shelling, and the family constantly had to hide in the forest near their house.

"We did not expect this to happen would start, at first we were very scared. When there were explosions all the children were gathered in one room, they did not know where and what might come next. It was also very scary when the rockets flew over us: you are standing on the street - and it is right above your head," Iryna recalling those days.

Before the War Iryna worked as a cleaner at a local school. Her husband works as a construction worker when he has the opportunity. The couple's children are currently 17, 15, 13, 11 and 10 years old. Among them are three foster children who joined the family before the invasion.

Nastya, the eldest daughter, entered the Kharkiv National University of Urban Economy named after Beketov and is studying to become an architect-urban planner. Iryna notes that she was the one who had the hardest time at the beginning of the war and was very nervous, but now she is feeling better.

The younger children of the family are on online education. For security reasons, village students are not allowed to go to school. Iryna says that it is a great relief that the stress did not affect the children's health: "When they encountered explosions for the first time in their lives, it was very scary for everyone. Then they got used to it, became less nervous, and now they are generally calm."

The family's house was not affected by enemy shelling, says Iryna. In general, Pershotravnev was lucky, the woman believes, that despite everything there was no destruction. Although the explosions have now decreased, the silence here is very relative: several shellings can be heard a day.

Iryna admits that in the first days she thought of evacuating in order to take the children away from danger. The family considered several options for where to go, but in the end they stayed: "They decided that the village was more or less safe, and they really didn't want to leave the house," says the woman. At the same time, she notes: if it so happened that a projectile hit a house or somewhere in the village, the decision would be different.

Meanwhile, the family is trying to adjust to life under the current conditions.

Thanks to the help from the "Family to Family" project of Caritas Polska and Caritas-Spes Ukraine, they bought the children a double bed, gadgets for online learning and stationery, in addition, they bought warm clothes and shoes. Iryna says that these funds became a real salvation, although the war taught her to be satisfied with the smallest things, and even silence is a joy.

So the family has only one dream: to end hostilities as soon as possible and never again have to see rockets or run to the cellar in anticipation of the worst. And the children, adds Iryna, really want to finally study not online, but at school: they miss communication and normal school life. The family believes and expects that all this will return as soon as Ukraine wins.

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.

26 December 2023
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