What we've done this month (March, 2015)

Natalia Nenasheva

Last month I've got a lot of help and support from those of my friends and my friends' friends who might not speak English,

so let me also make a post in English.

Firs of all, thank you so much! All the people from the US, Germany, Poland, Mexico, Russia, Israel and Ukraine.
Anna Tomson, Andrea Laštovková, Gonzalo Vinssac Rayado, Inna Blank, Irene Michlin, Jewgenij Keis,
Natalia Malinko Koloda de Juarez, Natalia Kantor, Richard Stehlík, Tereza Švejnohová, I am not sure you can read Russian,
so let me thank you here!

Altogether we've collected $1,680.

Well, I need to say that most of this money has been spent.
What I've turned them into is:

— 750 spread cheese bars that have made a great stuffing for 1,500 patties for refugees who are now living in Romashka.
— 250 kilos of cottage cheese for breast-feeding mothers, children and pregnant in the Romashka settlement and at the house for temporary stay in Kharkiv.
— 430 kilos of meet for Romashka (this may seem a lot, however even if all the meet has been eaten by now this
would make only 55 grams per person a day (430 kilos by 300 people by 26 days)
— 340 litres of sunflower-seed oil and 220 kilos of buckwheat that we given to the refugees in Karkov as a part of their one-time grocery aid
— 14 kilos of cheese and 20 kilos of sausages for sandwiches that volunteers make for refugees at the support desk at the Kharkiv train station.

Why have I chosen these places?

Romashka settlement and and the house for temporary stay in Kharkiv are both places where people mostly stay for the first
couple of month while they get their papers done, find some work and a place to live in. There are not «professional refugees»,
who only wait for others to provide them with everything.

One-time grocery aid is provided only once to help people to live through the first time. People in Romashka don't get it.

Sandwiches at the train station help people to live through the time of waiting while they can go further in Ukraine or find
a settlement in Kharkiv. If you've once seen a face of a child who has not seen neither cheese nor sausages since last summer when
they get the sandwich, you'd know what I mean.

If we won't be so short of money next month I'd dream to give some grocery help to orphanages where children from the
battle zone are living now. (Once you right a post that people see, a lot of them come to help, but others write to ask for help).
If you want your money to be spent specifically for some purpose, please let me know.

So, I was asked to give 50 euro of the money received to help with medication for the new-borns. Within the last two days
I've spent 125 dollars for the purpose to help one very special baby-patient from the battle zone (the baby initially had no ventricle (as far as I could understand),
doctors have made the surgery but some medicine had to be bought).
There was no way for me to say, 'Sorry, there is only 50 euro and we cannot help with the rest'.

Actually, we can help. You can help. And I really appreciate it.
Below is a couple of pictures of our help from the Romashka settlement and a pregnant mum at the house for temporary stay in Kharkiv

Please let's go on with the support of the needy. (Please share, if yo feel that your friends could relate to us)

Privat Bank Card: 5363 5423 0083 6898 Nenasheva Nataliya
Webmone — USD Z155430009618
PayPal — natalia.bushmanova@gmail.com


My morning today started with an early phone call from Fyodor Kamelaskin, a resident of eastern Ukrainian city of Alchevsk. I first talked to Fyodor about a week ago when he asked me and my fellow volunteers to evacuate his wife and young kids from the conflict zone. He was desperate to move to a land where groceries are open and doctors are available.

Fyodor is 30, his wife is 29 and kids are 4 and 6. During our last evacuation visit to the zone we could not take them with us because the family wanted to collect all necessary documents, and fix their car. [Refugees in Ukraine get very little help and it would be very hard for them to settle in a new place without the documents and the car].

Today Fyodor and his family decided to move on his own. They drove off-road to avoid the separatists’ checkpoints; Cossacks were not happy to see the family leaving the “independent republic”. To let you understand the risk, remember that most of the fields near frontline are mined.

The family was delighted when they left the last separatists checkpoint behind. They passed the first Ukrainian checkpoint with no problems.

At the second checkpoint, near the village of Hirs’ke, Luhansk region, the family was stopped by guardsmen from the Volunteer Battalion Luhansk-1(subordinated to the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior). In brutal and obscene language the guard explained that the family has to go back.

Fyodor called me and Victoria for support. Victoria was in Sweden where roaming heartlessly exhausted her phone deposit. I could only listen powerlessly to the soldier’s emotional directives Fyodor to return home.

And after all their efforts the family had no choice but to go back to unknown.

There are thousands of similar stories. I have a question — is this idiotic pass system really needed? It does not solve the problem it designed to solve [to protect Ukraine from terrorists]. Instead it only creates a blockade/isolation of peaceful citizens, families with children, handicapped and elderly.

Dear government officials, please, show at least one real “terrorist” you caught because of this pass system.

Meanwhile, our volunteers can show you tens of thousands mothers, kids, handicapped persons, orphans and old people, who are dying of hunger and cannot get out from the area of conflict.

Moreover, we can tell you about the enormous scale of the corruption that this system enabled. “Thank you” for that!

Probably from the comfortable Kiev offices it is hard to imagine what actually happens «in the cold». We invite you to go with us to the war zone, just once, and see everything with your own eyes!

P.S. So that these words would not go unfounded, I intend to file a lawsuit against the Ukrainian government to dismantle this pass system which in fact blocks the civilian population in the uncontrolled territories. I urge other volunteers to join such lawsuit. I also fully support similar judicial efforts by Sergey Kosyak.

P.P.S. We will try to evacuate Fyodor and his family on March 13-14th. Already started negotiations.

P.P.P.S. It is not what we fought for at Maidan, gentlemen who came to power thanks to it. No, it is not! We did not fight so you would create new corrupt schemes while “heroically” blocking mothers with children who are trying to escape from hell!


A Man from Donbass

I hired a taxi to deliver our targeted assistance - parcels and clothing. We were driving along Shevchenko street when a traffic cop ordered the cabman to stop the car. The official asked the taxidriver whether he was from Lugansk and requested to show his documents.
As I did not pay attention to the number plate of the taxi, I was very surprised. I started talking to the taxist.
Yes, he and his family arrived in Kharkiv in November. His children are fully grown; they moved here from Donetsk. They are looking for a job. He moonlights as a cab driver. He said he had never thought his life could change so quickly.
They had to move in a hurry. No suitcase packed, all they took were the documents. His family had two apartments in Lugansk and he was a businessman. He left in Lugansk lots of high-value goods in a warehouse…
Many of his friends stayed there. They just couldn’t quit the businesses and spare houses they’ve lived for years. He and his family took a chance and they are trying to get here.
He didn’t tried to get in touch with volunteers. He said he didn’t know any volunteer stations in Kharkov. I tried to invite him, but he got embarrassed and refused. I didn’t not insist, but informed him where our center was.
— What is the public mood in Donbass?
— You know, 10% percent are – … he gestures his finger against his temple. – Those who want peace and keep silence because of fear make 60%, and the rest is for the United Ukraine. This is our country and what do they do to us?!
He said that the police officers, doctors and teachers were first to have betrayed the Country …
— We are neither beggars nor homeless. We have some money to meet ends meet in Kharkov. It’s a big deal to rent an apartment here, but we are doing our best, we don’t give up. Give support and assistance to those who desperately need it., – he said. –  You see, people’s indifference or worse – their hatred – is the worst thing here for us.
You know what was the worst thing for me?
I looked in the rearview mirror and saw his eyes. Tired, sad and hopeless. He kept on talking to me but I could not breathe.
I was struck with shame because of this Ukrainian man with silver hair from Donbass.

Julia Pimenova, Kharkov Station volunteer

Translated by Tanya Pochtiennykh

Актуальная помощь переселенцам из АРК и зоны боевых действий