In Kramatorsk, IDPs are dreaming of coming back home, even to their bare walls. The distance that separates them from home is much longer. A lot of them cannot cover it. A lot of them have no home.
On the wrong bank of the war. Why Kramatorsk has not become home for IDPs. Part 1
Anna lived with her daughter Maryna and grandson Artem in the settlement of Piski before the war. It practically disappeared during the eight months of the war. The family used to hide themselves in the basement when shelling started and they got used to shells which flew over them.
When there were the most severe battles in January 2015, Anna's family was occasionally found by volunteers and they took the family away.
- They were going to Piski, but took the wrong road, the woman says. They had to turn and then they got to us. First, they brought humanitarian aid, then offered us to go to Kramatorsk. We hoped that everything would be over, but shelling resumed. So we went in the clothes that were on us.
Photo: When there were the most severe battles in January 2015, Anna's family was occasionally found by volunteers and they took the family away
Now the family does not know where to go back: Piski is completely ruined. There is a shelter in Kramatorsk, but there is no money and no chances to get a job and their own accommodation. Anna gets pension; her daughter — 540 Hrivnyas a month at the labour exchange. They do not get any subsidies as IDPs — the same situation with the stamps which have not been put on their IDP certificates.
In the afternoon, the Center is very busy: women wash clothes; men repair and fix something; children play. The volunteers' vehicle comes from time to time. They load and take aid to the militaries at the front.
- If the border with Russia is closed and militants go away, all the people will go back home, even to their ruined houses, Vira Serafimivna is reflecting on the situation in a loud voice. What we need is peace and the border, not just a line, but a wall, Chinese Wall for them from the other side not to be able to come.
I WANT TO LIVE IN UKRAINE
Yana, Tymur, Gulnara, Nazar, Aisha, Saida, Bakhtiyar... All in all, Roman and his wife Tetyana have eleven children, eight their common ones and three Roman's children by his first marriage.
Their family is the largest one in the Kramatorsk Center for IDPs. The oldest, Anzhela, is sixteen; the youngest, Bakhtiyar, was born in the center.
Roman, an IDP from Horlivka, says in Uzbek, I want to live in Ukraine.
He is a citizen of Tajikistan. He has been living in the Donetsk region for twenty years: he came to Horlivka escaping from the civil war in his native country. Now he has to escape from the war again.
- I have lived longer in Ukraine that in my native country. Ukraine has become my Motherland, says he.
There are dozen beds and a lot of toys in their room. Toys are presents to IDPs' children. Toys are their main attraction which distracts them form recalling the war.
Many years ago the father of this family came to Horlivka escaping from the civil war in his native country. Now he has to escape from the war again.
- We were in shelters and basements from July 2014 to February 2915, says Tetyana trying to answer questions of her four kids at the same time: they ask her a lot of questions and need attention too. Then volunteers took us first to Slovyansk and from there to this Center.
Now her three youngest children are sitting on her lap: Aisha, Saida, and Bakhtiyar who is trying to say something, but it is impossible to get it.
- When we came, we had no money, no staff. We have filed the papers to get subsidies. We wanted to rent a flat, but nobody wants to give us accommodation because of the large family.
Roman himself had to stay in Horlivka a bit longer. His Tajik passport burnt down, and he was not allowed to enter the Ukrainian territory without papers: the certificate saying that he had no papers was not accepted at checkpoints. Only in September, he managed to join his family:
- I was said that it was possible to cycle though it was dangerous: the roads are mined. I passed by three coal mines; there were militaries there. It was scary. So, I got to Dzerzhynsk and then here.
Tetyana's mom, brother, and sister are in Horlivka, but she does not think about coming back.
- There are practically no people there now. We would like to stay here... At that moment Anzhela, who goes to school, runs into the room. Anzhela, do you want to go back to Horlivka?
- No, she answers firmly.
Oleksandr Yaroshchuk for The Ukrainian Pravda. Life
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