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8 June 2020 - Story


Elena* in her house. Credits: Donbas Development Centre

Thursday 15 March 2018

Elena* and her husband are pensioners and the caregivers of two of their grand-children Oleg*, 6 and Pavel*, 10. Elena’s daughter, mother of the two boys, fell ill with an incurable disease and as a result, she is now unable to bring up her children. According to Elena’s words, both children are gifted: Oleg* creates wonderful pictures and has participated in various art competitions several times, where he won prizes, while Pavel* is fond of sports and participates in competitions.


“Look, here”, said the grand-mother, pointing to the walls, “Everything is covered with paintings, medals and commendations. Our boys are trying very hard. We are very proud of them”.


Raising the boys brings happiness to their grand-parents but also challenges, especially living in Non-Government Controlled Areas where prices are very high and pensions difficult to access. Elena* together with her husband make every effort to ensure that the life of the grandchildren is comfortable and that they grow up in the best way. Before the war, they started building a second floor over their small house and to install gas heating. But the plans did not materialized once the conflict began:  the second floor remains unfinished and the new roof was damaged by shells several times.


"We live on two pensions with a total income of 9,000 Roubles [127 EUR or 4,200 UAH]. With this money, we will never be able to finish building the house, not to speak of installing the gas heating. This is very expensive for us. All the money goes to food, payment for utilities and the purchase of some basic things for the children. For example, it cost us 6,000 Roubles [85 EUR or 2,900 UAH] to buy a suit for the older grandson to go to school. And this was done through a personal acquaintance, below the market price. We have to save on everything to save money" says Elena*. "This year we were able to buy only one ton of coal. I don’t know how we would have survived this winter. Thank you for this support, you literally saved us from freezing weather" thanks Elena*.


Save the Children International and Donbass Development Center with financial support of the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) assisted Elena's* family get through the harsh winter by providing them with three tons of solid household fuel to heat the house.


Save the Children, the European Union, the United Nations, the Government of Ukraine and other partners met in Brussels on 28 February 2018 to raise awareness about the forgotten humanitarian situation in Ukraine and gather support from the international community so that families like this one can live in dignity.