People often write me that we’re helping OVER THERE, whereas we should be helping RIGHT HERE. My answer is–yes, probably.
Aid is needed by various people in various places. But it so happened that we’re helping the people of the Donbass. To be honest, I never was involved in helping anyone before the war, except myself. I was never a volunteer anywhere, did not participate in any initiatives. I empathized from afar, sometimes gave money to street musicians, and did reposts on social media. Though that’s been rare in recent times.
It was the war made me, at one point, drop everything, collect a carload of food, and take it into the hell of war. That was Pervomaysk. What’s there to say? It just so happened, I didn’t choose, didn’t decide. It was a spontaneous action which I will never be able to explain.
My first orphanage, dorm, retirement home, hospice, were all on the Donbass.
Where I saw another extreme of life, under wartime conditions. I saw abandoned disabled children, elderly, paralyzed. I encountered lies, deception for the first time. In the midst of war. I don’t know what I found more shocking, military operations or the squalor of human nature.
Years later, this is now a huge part of my life. But here’s what I want to say.
Back then, in 2014, we helped everyone who was there. As years passed, our aid became more selective. We have a very serious filter. Yes, there is an aid filter.
We have good news! Hurrah!
Last time I wrote they had problems concerning their custody.
The husband threw out the wife together with the kids out of their home in Crimea. She had no place to go, so she returned to her mother in LPR. That’s where tragedy happened. Her heart gave out, even though she was still young. She died right in front of the kids. The granny, when she returned, saw the kids sitting next to the body. Ever since it’s been a struggle to get the kids’ custody of the kids and depriving the father of parental rights. But since he’s not an LPR citizen, it’s an extra difficulty. But, Thank god! Social services deprived him of parental rights and transferred the case to courts.
With time, the granny will be able to get child care benefits. The most important thing is that all this time she was afraid the kids would be taken away from her.
During all this time, the granny and the kids lived off her retirement and odd jobs and our aid. These odd jobs are not easy to come by. There’s nobody to live the young ones with, and they often fall ill. It’s a complicated story. Anyone who’s raised small children without help knows what it’s like. And she herself is not a young woman, which makes it doubly difficult.
Yulya and Lera live alone. Yulya is a beautiful woman who, by a miracle, is still among the living. Now disabled and without a husband, she is nevertheless raising a daughter. Lives only for her. I already wrote about them. It was a chance encounter. They live next to our sisters whom we’ve been helping for years.
Yulya is still young but can barely walk, relying on a cane. Our Lena noticed her on the street. A few words were exchanged and everything was clear. Her life was a hard one. Everything is made worse by the fact they live in LPR. Where the socially vulnerable are particularly affected because social benefits are tiny. Medical support is limited. And yes, the war there is not an abstraction but a fact. People often write me to say that, well, we have plenty of people in Russia who need help. It’s all true, there are single moms, disabled, abandoned elderly, in Russia aplenty. But believe me, it’s ten times worse in a war zone. I realize that for many that war does not exist but..you know, it’s probably useless to explain. You either get it or you don’t. And I ask you, please ignore his post if you disagree with me. There are hundreds of pages, posts, bloggers who are begging for you to deposit your opinion there.
In addition to presents for children and for institutions, we brought winter holiday presents to all the families we look after.
Our LPR team did massive work before the holidays by bringing families not only presents but also food. Naturally, we had no ability to provide caviar, but we did try to make their none-too-easy lives better.
In this post, there is a report about our heroic grannies who are raising grandkids.
And also the latest news.
You’ve known them all for years.
They are all struggling. In their age, with dozens of ailments, fighting with bureaucracy, they nevertheless raise grandkids. They love them and do the best they can. Some of the have lost their children to the war, which happened in front of the grandkids. And this is probably one of the most horrible things I’ve written about. Children who see the death of their parents.
Friends, thank you for your help and concern!
All of these people have become close to us all.
If you want to participate in helping these families, please label your contributions “grandmas”.
Once again, many thanks to you!
Here’s a situation, a difficult one, and, alas, we can’t go into all the details.
Vanya’s 15, lives with grandma. The family was leading a normal life, as far as it’s possible for a fatherless family to live in LPR. Yes, they are from Lugansk, we were connected by social workers who also aid the family.
The mother has a job at the front desk at the railway station. The grandma draws a pension. Not much money, but just enough.
On April 26, 2017, the boy was walking from an aikido session back home. He was hit by a fast-moving car on a pedestrian crossing. I won’t go into all the details. Bottom line is that his life was saved, but he’s disabled. He had a broken forehead bone, requiring a trepanation. In the end he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Raynaud’s Syndrome, and several other ailments (the medical history extract is at the bottom of the post).
Friends, we have a new family. I often have to read comments about how Donbass people are freeloaders and we shouldn’t be helping them. It’s saddening to have to time and again explain, prove seemingly obvious things. That people there struggle, that there’s fighting there, and it’s not easy to leave. Yes, it’s not easy, and forget aobu tthe stories about how supposedly here in Russia they are being given everything but they are rudely refusing, they only want to come to Moscow. People, let’s just pause and think about the fact that it’s VERY difficult to get set up, and that not everyone can readily do it. Many of those whom we help have left and tried. But failed. And yes, we should not we are not helping every single person there.
Our people are not those who are simply struggling. They are people who are struggling very hard. It’s awful to have to write such things, but yes, we do see tears from people who did not expect the help. People who often have nobody to turn to, nowhere to go to and, it seems were at some breaking point. Disabled, elderly, single mothers with many children. The most vulnerable.
Our new family is like that.
Look at the kids on the photo. Their mother abandoned them.
She probably doesn’t think she did. Simply dumped them onto her elderly mother, their grandmother, and vanished. Left them in Lugansk and went somewhere without war.
Unfortunately, we sometimes see such “deadbeats”,
My blog is a paradox in that while 80% of my posts are about the Donbass, the most read posts are the remaining 20%. With the rarest of exceptions. As soon as I stop writing my thoughts and stories, the rating crashes (in the sense of number of views).
My life of late has not been very simple, so I’ve had little time to write the blog about myself. I promise to fix that and continue writing on the favorite themes of “Dunya once again broke/lost something, etc.”
But in spite of the fact the blog lost views, I want to give big thanks to all of those who continue helping the Donbass. In January I will have a many reports from New Year’s events, the first of which already took place. LPR people these days are veritable Stakhanovites, tirelessly delivering presents in one place after another. I will write about that, and post photos, later.
But the main thing is that in addition to presents, our friends continue to deliver aid.
Thanks to everyone who, in spite of the holidays, leave, remember that there are people who need help! This is priceless, and it’s a point of pride that we’ve been able to organize it. Thanks to our entire team which put together these complex logistics!
I’m glad to see that even with the greatest drop in readership (yes, alas, I’m always upset when this happens), the aid continues.
And that’s very cool!
The post is about our friends’ most recent visits to our grannies. Heroic grannies who raised grandchildren on their own. They are all in unbelievably difficult situations. Age, illness, sadness from losing own children, but in spite of all that they have boundless love for their grandkids and do everything for them. What is more, not all parents try as hard.
Thank you for your caring!
If you want to help these families, please label your contributions “grandmas”
Elena Ivanovna is a quiet and gentle woman who found herself in deep trouble. There’s absolutely no-one to help her. It’s been like that. But now, thank God, she now has you and us.
We became acquainted during the summer. We’ve been trying to improve the situation since.
Elena Ivanovna lives in Lugansk. She broke a leg when the war started and due to a doctor’s error it fused improperly. She can’t walk now. Then she broke her arm so badly that she can’t work. She also can’t use crutches and is not easily transported. At that time she also lost her husband to cancer. It all piled up during the war, when it was difficult to organize normal treatment and recovery.
That’s a brief summary.
Oksana’s husband perished on May 9, 2015, defending his Motherland. I don’t even know what to write, the new Motherland of LPR, or the old one, but which one? He was a militiaman and, like many, he wen toff to defend his home in Lugansk in ’14.
He left behind a wife with two children, Masha and Kolya. Here they are, on the first photo.
Oksana went through hell and one can’t even say she’s out of it yet. Only the children are keeping her afloat. She did not really live for several years after the death, she loved her husband so much. She closed inwardly but, thank God, did not lose her mind. We have helped many children whose mothers went insane due to what they went through, and who now live with their grandmothers. Kolya and Masha live with their mom and thank God everyone is alive and well.
But they are struggling.
In the fall I wrote about how all of their appliances burned down. Thanks to the money we collected we were able to not only help the family with food and medications, but even bought them a washing machine. Oksana never asked anything of us. She is very modest and does not complain. Many thanks to caring people who volunteered to help in this difficult situation.
You know, I am often offended by people who leave comments stating they also fare poorly but “they are not takers.” I’ll say this: none of these people is a “taker”. What is more–one must ask. This is normal and correct in a difficult situation. Nobody has written a comment “Dunya, please help me, I’m barely surviving.” No, these comments are simple insults directed at me and at those whom we help. I always feel bitter when I read them. I would like there to be as few people as possible in such situations. But I would also want people not to envy others and were instead able to be happy for them.
Interestingly, often people we help turn down our aid. They may have an empty refrigerator, but they’ll say “someone needs it more”. Be merciful and don’t judge! Be able to forgive, not envy, and give. Anyone can find themselves in a tight spot, anyone at all, and this war has taught me that. Don’t judge and don’t think that if you are doing well, it’s because you are doing something rights. Sometime these are people who are at odds with logic. Don’t overestimate it, it will get ahead of you and smack you on the nose.
One angry lady showed up in the comments section last night. She wrote two harsh comments stating that she and her three kids left the war zone, lives in Russia, is really struggling, but at least her kids don’t know what war is. The post concerned collecting aid for New Year festivities. The woman wrote that nobody brings her presents, which means those who stayed there did so because it’s beneficial to them, and that makes her very angry. They are there to collect aid.
I’ll say this–yes, we have seen people like that in ’14. Alas, they did exist. I remember one woman in Pervomaysk who did not want to leave the bomb shelter even though heavy shelling stopped a long time ago. She did not want to leave because journalists and volunteers were showing up by the hundreds. They brought food, clothing, medications. Just sit and take. But listen–it’s been five years since that time. Yes, sometimes humanitarian aid does arrive, but that’s not enough to live on. Nobody’s been living in bomb shelters for a long time, the war has moved into a new phase. No, that phase is no better or worse, it’s just different. Unruly, protracted.
The aid from our convoys is meant mainly for hospitals, kindergartens, retirement homes, dormitories, other institutions. This is real aid. They bring equipment, special preparations, insulin, and much else needed for people to live. But to say that people find it convenient to stay in the warzone is just funny. Salaries, pensions, benefits in the Republics are tiny. Life there is very difficult. It’s hard to find work, pay is low. And there’s the war. Leaving now is not like leaving in ’14 when there were refugee processing centers and many programs assisting in restarting one’s life. Now it’s a multi-layered hell where the problem is not only the institutions but even the question of where to turn to. Even with one kid it’s a problem, and what do you do when you have three? And what about single moms, elderly, disabled, bedridden? What are they to do?
The lady was very angry, but her pain and the difficulty of her situation were plainly felt. She removed her comments after some time. But I can say that I constantly encounter such opinions concerning those who remained among those who have left, and also among Russians. Very many condemn those who live there. And I always answer the same–you have no idea what you would have done yourselves in that situation.
My friend from Lugansk did not leave because her parents absolutely refused to leave their land and she couldn’t leave them. Everyone has their own pain and own reasons. It’s seemingly obvious, but apparently, not entirely since people are constantly making similar comments.
That’s how tit is.
Friends, thanks to all who continue to help our team in helping people of the Donbass. In this post there is a report on medications for two people who are really struggling.
Did they have an opportunity to leave? Why did they stay? I don’t think it’s for us or that lady to judge. But I know that anyone can find themselves in a tough spot. Anyone at all.
And I’m glad we can help them somehow.