“There is Nothing like Home”


You will hear this statement from almost every Ukrainian who was pushed away from his or her hometown or village to find a safer place. Since February 24th, thousands of Ukrainian families moved to the regions in Western Ukraine or abroad to protect their lives and the lives of their children.

Tamara Verzylova, aged 65, and her family were among displaced Ukrainians who left the Lugansk region for Dnipro. Tamara was born in a village not far from Severodonetsk and has lived in Severodonetsk until February 2022. When Russia started bombing Ukraine they moved to Lysychansk since they had some relatives there and felt it would be more secure. But it was not a final destination for Tamara’s family. They stayed in Lysychansk for only 2 weeks and made the decision to head to Dnipro.

“I have my 3-year-old grandson Saveliy, my relative is disabled and he needs special care. I didn’t want to risk their lives and wait until it is impossible to leave. So we talked to some other families with small children and we decided to take a mini-bus, hire a driver and move to Dnipro. There were 9 of us. We put signs “People”, and “Children” on the bus windows. And in 8 hours we safely reached Dnipro.” 

Now Tamara has been living in her new home in Dnipro for 3 months. They rent a flat together with 10 other people. It is not very comfortable but Tamara doesn’t complain. She is grateful for every small help her family gets. She appreciates all that other people are doing for her and her relatives. 

“I thank God for all caring people whom I met and who have been supporting us for these three months. We would not have survived if not for them. Some people let us stay in their flat for free, others bring food and clothes. You know we left home when it was winter so we had absolutely nothing to wear.”

Tamara considers it very important to be very active in a new place. You have to walk around, meet new people, get information about possible humanitarian aid, and get contacts with volunteers. If you sit at home and wait you will get nothing.

“Queues are the best place for it”, – says Tamara. – “When you are in a queue for food or for clothes, people like you surround you. They have similar problems and they gladly share contacts and news with you”.

In the queue, Tamara found out about the humanitarian help for people from Severodonetsk and got some summer clothes for the family and some toys for her grandson. And it was also in the queue when she got to know about Iryna Vlasenko, Oleksandr Vlasenko, and Slaven Vujic and their great organization Flaming Beacon. One lady shared Iryna’s telephone number with Tamara and she called.

“At first I didn’t feel very comfortable asking for help. But I really needed some medicine and I couldn’t get it anywhere.  Iryna reacted immediately. She asked for a list and then later brought everything. Oleksandr came to us, we went shopping, and he bought fruit, vegetables, and juice for Saveliy. We didn’t expect that. Yes, these are basic things but you forget about them, and later they are like a miracle to you”.

Tamara sounds very positive and enthusiastic. She is happy that all her family members are alive and they are together. All the other things seem so minor to her. Like millions of Ukrainians, she dreams of going back home but she understands it is too early. So Tamara tries to accept Dnipro as their second home. With a smile on her face and with great people around.  

By Iryna Petriv

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Contributor, Proud Ukrainian


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