“We lived in a one bedroom flat. There were 18 of us. It is difficult when there are so many people in one room. Especially with small children – one starts crying and they all start crying.” – Nastia told Hromadske.
She came with her large family to Kharkiv from Sverdlovsk, Luhansk region, when it came under the control of separatist forces.
“It was hard for us to find a place to live here. When people find out you’re from the Donetsk or Luhansk region they don’t want to take you in,” said the father, Viktor.
He was one of the people who involved in the Chornobyl nuclear disaster and now he is disabled. Together with his wife Irina they have brought up 4 foster children in addition to their own.
At the moment the entire family is living in a purpose-built settlement which was built especially for displaced people with funding from the German government. The town comprises blocks of metal bungalows and looks just like a real refugee town but with better facilities.
However they are only allowed to stay there for 6 months. It is not clear what they will do after that. “We of course hope that the war will end and we will be able to return home…”, said Nastia.
As at the 23 March 2015 the UN estimated that there are 1,178,000 IDPs in Ukraine. For several months a team of Hromadske traveled around Ukraine, from Sloviansk to Lviv, in search of stories of those who were left without their homes because of the war and the annexation. This the second story of part 2 in the Displaced series, a project about the lives of internally displaced persons in Ukraine from the Donbas region and Crimea.
// Hromadske with the support of the Thomson Foundation. Filmed in February, 2015.