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“He cried and asked when we would go home” – how Mariupol children are helped to survive the war. Part 3

“He cried and asked when we would go home” – how Mariupol children are helped to survive the war. Part 3

The Center for family support of Ordzhonikidze social service is located in “Vostochny” micro district of Mariupol. It is the district which was cruelly shelled on January 24, 2015. At that time 29 people perished and dozens were wounded. Locals are not in a hurry to restore the damaged houses. Some of them are expecting more shelling: several windows in each house are scotched for them to stand the blast wave.

“He cried and asked when we would go home” – how Mariupol children are helped to survive the war. Part 1

“He cried and asked when we would go home” – how Mariupol children are helped to survive the war. Part 2


Anzhelika is a mom who takes her kid to the Center. She has four children, the oldest ons is a second-year student of Mariupol State University. The youngest, Denis is 6 and he comes to the Center to get ready for school.

They escaped from Maryinka. Anzhelika says there is no life there now. In the past it was a district center, and their family with four children got social support.

When the hostilities started, the family moved to Mariupol, to Anzhelika's parents.

- There is no life in Donetsk now. We gave births to children there, got treatment there, but now it is very difficult to live there. We tried to survive, with no pensions and no salaries. It was very difficult. When water supply failed in Maryinka and it was impossible to buy it, we came here. The center supports very much and offered to prepare my son for school. And I see changes in my son, so the classes are fruitful, says Anzhelika.

After moving to Mariupol in the summer, 2014, Denis became reserved and did not want to speak. Doctors examined him and came to the conclusion that was the result of stress.

- He was tested with interesting tests. There were two people, one of them was standing, another one – lying. Denis said about him - “He is ill”. So, the psychologist said that Denis was experiencing severe stress. As a rule, when kids see a lying person, they say that the person is relaxing, sleeping, or sunbathing… My son was crying and asking all the time when we would go home.

Denis will get a course of art-therapy which is held by a psychologist. The course will last for 3 months and is intended for children aged 6-16.

The formal income of Anzhelika's family of 6 members is 2,400 Hryvnyas. But social services pay out some minimal sum of money for each child. It took then a lot of time to get IDPs' documents as they were said that Maryinka residents are no longer IDPs as there are Ukrainian armed forces in Maryinka.

- And we did not fight for our rights. We went away.

Now Anzhelika is afraid of being registered as an IDP. She is afraid of being deprived of the social payments for children.

- This is temporary help; what I get from the state is minimal, but it is big help for me. Every half a year I go to Maryinka to submit declarations to the village council.

There is a house in a village near Maryinka where Anzhelika's family is registered and her 85-year-old father lives. The house is small, that is why the family with four children did not live in it.



- We always rented because we needed space as we have a lot of kids. When the last son was born, we started getting help. The authorities promised to give us some land plot and a house to restore. We thought of building an extra room at my father's house or to restore a house nearby. My husband had a job and we could afford that. We had calculated everything: cheap wall-paper, linoleum, etc. and it was 30 thousand Hryvnyas, says Anzhelika.

Today the family are living in a flat in “Vostochny” and pay only for utilities. They are not going to go back to Maryinka though they do not know how long they will live in Mariupol. They moved to the flat a month after the shelling – in February 2015.

When asked about the future, Anzhelika does not answer; she is afraid to answer.



- It is horrible, a horrible question. A day have passed and we are thankful to God. Every day I ask my husband: what to do. I think that somebody's trouble helped me: when “Vostochny was shelled, lots of people left their flats and went away. We are living in the last house which was left by a lot of people. We tried to find people who will let us in to look after the flat. And we were offered a three-room flat.

The flat owners went to Russia where they would like to get citizenship there. At the same time they were not going to sell the flat in Mariupol: they wait for the situation to stabilize to raise the price.

Anzhelika does not know how long they will live in the flat, and the future is rather dim.

- I cannot have any plans. We have had no plans so far. We get social payments. We pay for the utilities without any rent. We do not know what will happen next when we are asked to leave ...

There is a Center in Mariupol which helps IDPs' children
.


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