Hungarian Interchurch Aid has been supporting winterization initiatives. Possible by the sponsorship of Christian Aid, HIA’s long-time partner has implemented the window replacement of kindergartens in the township of Pervomai’skyi, where one-third of the population is internally displaced. The most vulnerable have found refuge in the educational institutions supported by the local authorities.
Alona still shudders from the sound of air raid alarms. The young girl lives in the kindergarten with her mother, along with eighteen other people. Privacy is a luxury in such conditions, but the family says it is still better than being exposed to the terrifying sounds of explosions. They left their home under Izyum as the war started and have been living in Pervomai’skyi ever since. “There is nowhere to return,” says Alona’s mother, grateful for international NGOs supporting their well-being and helping in making their life as comfortable as it can be.
One issue the kindergarten faced was poor insulation; consequently, all residents wore winter jackets even inside the building. Getting a cold or catching the flu was common, and since the residents are living in a common space, it could take weeks until everyone recovered. Another issue was washing the clothes as there was only one washing machine for eighteen people. Consequently, many wore the same clothes for days if not weeks.
These conditions take an even greater toll on mothers with young children. Svitlana and her two-year-old son arrived around the same time as Alona and her mother. She enjoys the quiet of the day, as most residents have found work or occupation for the daytime, such as her husband. This was partially possible for the support provided by HIA, as one can only focus on work and other activities when they are provided with a stable accommodation.
Alona now attends online classes in one of the now warm rooms refurbished for schooling and enjoys painting and arts. Svitlana can spend quality time with her son, as part of her worries is now of the past.