Starting anew from scratch

Olha and Dmytro have lost everything but their lives. Fleeing a small mining town in Donetsk region, they ended up in a shelter for internally displaced in Bohuslav, Kyiv region, hundreds of miles from their now lost home. As time passed, the shelter conditions became unbearable for them and their two sons, aged 10 and 14. Realising that the war had no end in sight, they took matters into their own hands. Literally.

With no one to help, they decided to establish a new life and regrow the roots the war had so cruelly cut away. After searching for a while, they found a piece of land on the outskirts of Bohuslav, what some might even call the end of the world. On it was a shanty house, damaged as if it was ravaged by fighting. Previous residents left mountains of garbage all over; the roof was leaking, the windows, if any, were damaged, and the floor had no covering. There was no toilet in the house, nor was there heating or running water. Still, the family chose it to be their new home, and with hard work and an unbreakable spirit, they started rebuilding the house and, in the process, rebuilding their very life. After agreeing with the landowner, the family pays a monthly fee for the rent and, eventually, the acquisition of their new home. Everything else is up to them.

Anyone who has engaged in construction knows that it is a challenging endeavour. As Olha and Dmytro could not afford building materials, they used what they could from the heaps of garbage around and what little help they got from their new neighbours. They used plastic wraps to cover the holes in the wall and broken slats to cover the damp, uncovered and muddy floor. Even though the circumstances were harsh, they kept going on with their gruesome task, only to recover from their daily labour by sleeping on old mattresses on the floor.

By the time winter was at the doorstep, they had run out of money to continue their efforts. That is when they approached HIA at a registration site for Assess and Assist cash support. Their request was simple: help them prepare their new home for winter so that they can provide a safe and warm home for their children.

After receiving the funds, Olha and Dmytro repaired the roof, restored the heating and electrical systems, built a sewage system and installed running water in the house. With the support of HIA and its funding partner Christian Aid, the family has established a new life from the ashes and debris left by war, symbolising resilience, hard work and family unity.

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