Nearly two million Ukrainian citizens were forced to leave their homes due to the war in the east of the country. “The Infromer” launches a series of articles about those who were courageous enough to start a new life from scratch. Perhaps, their experience will be useful for you as well.
“We left with nothing, taking just two bags with us”
The Roschupkins family faced the war in Makiivka in the summer of 2014. The Russian Army appeared in the town then. Nadiya and Artem understood that they had to leave the place.
Artem made furniture before the war, Nadiya was a copywriter and promoted Internet sites. The couple had some greenhouses with tulips but it was hardly possible to consider this seasonal revenue regular.
“Before the Russian Army appeared in the town, we were hoping that Makiivka would be liberated soon. The territory of the Anti-Terrorist Operation was shrinking all the time then. But when we saw the Russian Army enter the town, we saw the Chechens, tanks which were openly penetrating the territory, we understood that there was no sense to wait for something and spend our young years being a human shield for terrorists. So, we packed our things and left. We understood that we would have to start from a scratch”, says Nadiya.
Leaving Makiivka was not easy for Nadiya.
“We did not take anything but for two bags with us, so, it was a real adventure! We left our car in Makiivka, then we managed to sell it with a little help from a friend. We just trusted absolutely unknown people... You know, we are surrounded by so many people who are eager to help. We have to trust, to risk sometimes, but I think it would be riskier to stay there and hope that some drunk Russian terrorist will not decide to shell our micro district tomorrow”, thinks Nadiya Roschupkina.
After leaving their native town in August 2014, the Roschupkins went to Kherson. Later, they met people who wanted to help them and the couple went to Poltava. They stayed with their new friends for eight months. Nadiya has always loved working on land and at that time she made a decision to launch an agricultural business.
From torn by war Donbas to the realm of pelargonium
Active people who cared about internally displaced persons helped Nadiya to make her dream come true and make her first successful steps in business. One of them was Victoria Fedotova, head of NGO “Martin Club”. This organization worked in Makiivka before the war. When the armed hostilities started, it moved to another locality but did not stop its activity helping internally displaced persons.
“I saw Victoria’s posts on the Internet where she said that they were trying to develop green tourism and to build farms”, says Nadiya. “I asked her some questions and she said that there was such a possibility”.
Viktoria Fefodova introduced the Roschupkins family to Pavlo Kulakovsky, a farmer from the Dnipropetrovsk region. Pavlo, who is a father of nine, let IDPs from Makiivka live in a nice house in Yevetsko-Mykolaivka.
“He gave us a place to live free of charge. We sold our car and invested the money into this business, we use his car now. This cooperation and help are amazing”, says Nadiya.
Not to waste time,the Roschupkins started building a greenhouse. Their efforts were not in vain: now pelargoniums, carnations, petunias and cucumbers grow here.
Beside, Nadiya won a microgrant from the International Organization for Migration and bought a walk-behind tracktor which is irreplaceable for a farmer.
Nadiya tries to sell the plants she grows at markets and with the help of advertisement, but mostly she relies on the site which she has created herself.
“It is impossible to find a worker in a village, everyone drinks heavily here”
Nadiya has a lot of plans, firstly, she wants to expand her agricultural family business. However, the
Roschupkins family faced an unexpected problem here.
“We have already created a work place, but it is practically impossible to find a worker here — everyone’s drinking heavily. This is a big problem for Ukrainian villages. This is why we decided to find workers among internally displaced persons. They are a priority as we have been in their shoes and we know that it is practically impossible to do something without other people’s help”.
Internally displaced farmers are now looking for a family that had to flee the occupied territories and that would like to work in agriculture. The Roschupkins do not promise huge income at the very beginning, but they have already arranged free accommodation for people who are not afraid to start their life anew.
“We have arranged that it will be possible to live in a house free of charge for a year. It is a usual country house but it is really nice”, says Nadiya.
She says that now they are discussing this opportunity with a couple that lives in Donetsk.
“They have stayed there all the time of the conflict and I understand that psychologically it is difficult for them to make this decision... They want to leave, but as they are elderly, it is hard to change everything in their life”, continues Nadiya.
New service "Explain Ukraine". This is a daily mailout of five articles which were written about the situation in the Donbas by Donbas journalists and translated into English. Honest vision of people who work in the field is unbiased and fresh which is crucial in the world which is full of desinformation and propaganda. We try to share this vision in out daily mailout. You can subscribe here.