Helen is a hardworking, broad smiling, church going grandmother. The roof of her house was blown off by Russian artillery on March 13th. Explosions on the same day destroyed her barn, and her garage. Shrapnel tore holes in everything, including her neighbor, whom she and her son buried in his back yard. Her neighbors were raped, Russian soldiers ate their pets, and tanks drove down the streets of her village deliberately driving over parked cars, crushing them to scrap.
While the occupying soldiers did their dirty deeds, leaving bodies dead on the streets, Helen and her son hid in a bomb shelter outside the remains of their house. It was -7 bellow zero. They lived with no heat, electricity, or water. The door to the shelter was also blown off by the blast. A curtain covered the entrance. She and her son, alone in 10 square feet, under the ground, survived what can only be described as an apocalypse for three weeks.
She wept many times while she told us her story. When we arrived, neighbors from surrounding farming villages were at her house working to clean rubble, then make enough repairs to shield her from the approaching winter.
We gave her our last 100 dollars and prayed for her. Our gift seemed insignificant in light of her desperation and needs. But it’s all we had left to give.
Imagine how it must have been for the children in her village. We can’t ask them to tell us their story. That would be cruel and traumatizing without the right conditions. But Helen wanted us to know what happened. We listened and understood that memories and experiences like this are what haunt Ukraine’s children too. it’s still happening now, every single day.
The needs are overwhelming, but our goal is attainable if we all pitch in and do what we can. We partner with you so that children in war-torn communities like Helen’s can recover from the trauma of war with new strength and resilience. It’s a worthy cause, to bring healing, hope, and help to children marginalized by armed conflict. Stay with us.
Hanna is from Kharkiv. Last week, she went back to her war-torn home.
When evil-doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out, ‘Stop!’