Sadly, this week attacks in Ukraine intensified. Three of our dedicated team members working on the ground have shared their reflections on recent events, how life has changed for them since the war began, and why it is so important to provide help to the children and families of Ukraine.
Everybody here has got used to the air raid sirens; they’ve become part of our life.
Life has changed completely since the war started. I was originally evacuated and displaced with my family. It was a terrible situation; my parents are very elderly and my mother was due to have an operation but was told to leave because the hospitals were overrun with injured people. It was extremely stressful for my family.
Work helped me to cope with the situation, by being useful and keeping busy.
On Monday I was driving with my daughter in the car when the missiles hit close by. I was horrified and anxious, just thinking about my daughter and wanting to take her home and not knowing what was going on. We were just in the centre of this terrifying situation. It was so close and we heard all the explosions. Thankfully, I managed to get home where there is a shelter.
Since Monday everything has become more stressful, nobody thought Kyiv would be bombed in this way again.
I have close friends who were injured, thank goodness they’re alive but they got hit by strong shock waves.
I’m frightened about more attacks, more war.
Most of my close relatives are displaced outside the country now, particularly the women with children. That means I have more to do.
This week there was fresh bombing, leaving us with no electricity and water. The most frightening thing was losing internet connection and the ability to communicate for hours. It was not the first time, it’s become a normal thing so I knew how to act calmly. I managed to contact my colleagues at Lumos to tell them I was ok, and to check that everyone else was ok too. I talked to my family and discussed whether we should evacuate, and I helped my sister and nephew to leave. It’s difficult, but it’s normality now. Sadly I’ve got used to such things.
I continue to work with Lumos, to do my job. We have guidance and support, we communicate as a team and have evacuation plans in place if needed.
I feel ok but when I think about what happened, I feel a little tremor.
Life has changed completely since the war started – it’s the constant fear for my life and for the life of my family. Our routines have changed. Before the war we might do sports, meet with friends… Now you can’t understand what to do and where to go. Which shelter do I go to? Will this shelter protect me, really?
It makes you realise what the important things are – whether you have enough water, enough medicine – as a woman, whether I have enough sanitary products… everything like this. The very first day the war started when I woke up I didn’t completely understand what was going on or what to do. I just grabbed some things and left.
We thought the bombing wouldn’t come back again, but 7 o’clock on Monday it happened. It was a huge stress, not understanding what was going on and what to do now. I didn’t have shelter near my house, I have to walk some time to get to the nearest one. There was no electricity, no water and no mobile connection. Tuesday it came back, but the electricity was malfunctioning. The most affected areas were those where the missiles flew directly overhead.
I wasn’t too afraid, because I was prepared and it had happened before. I had everything ready and took everything with me to the shelter. I worked as usual, behaved as usual, communicated as usual. But there were some very stressful moments when I couldn’t reach my family, and I was afraid of what might be going on.
We’re waiting to see what will happen.
The thing that helps me cope with the stress is work. When I work and manage issues relating to work, I feel safer and more comfortable. It helps to work with my friends to help internally displaced people; to provide first aid, clothes, food, to help with communication… to provide psychological support and counselling, to give advice.
I get emotional thinking about Lumos’ work. The work we do is extremely important to me. I work with families and foster carers who look after children. As a member of the Lumos team, I can help these people and be a big help, a big support to them. Every member of our team in Ukraine does their best for the children and families who need our help.
My biggest fear is the potential for more bombing. Today you work, you function, you do everything you can, but tomorrow the missiles can come and everything will stop. You never know when it can come.