“I cannot lose hope and give up. Who will then take care of my family? We have each other and that is what matters the most," reflects Stanislav who is rebuilding his life from scratch after fleeing the war already for the second time in his life.
Stanislav’s motivation aligns with reasons that contributed to the collective resilience of people in Ukraine who preserved their ability to withstand the devastation and daily challenges of the war. According to the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Rapid Situational Analysis, the feeling of connectedness, a sense of national identity and pride, selflessness and supporting others were key drivers that helped people through their hardships.
Stanislav and his wife Nataliia fled their hometown Avdiivka in Donetsk Region in 2014 amidst the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. They left everything behind, including their home and a family business where the husband provided services as an electrician, and the wife was a cleaner. Since then, the couple lived in Kharkiv trying to integrate into the local community and investing their time and resources into making this place their new home.
“At first, we felt like strangers in Kharkiv. Luckily, we had fantastic friends there who supported us in every possible way. However, there was a sensation that we were not accepted by the community. Sometimes people did not want to hire us, and renting an apartment was difficult,” Nataliia recalls.
Only recently, things started to fall into place. Stanislav found a job enabling him to have a stable source of income, and in 2021 the family bought a house. However, Nataliia had a premonition that something terrible is coming: “When we first entered the apartment, I looked around and told Stas “We’re not going to live here’ as if my heart was trying to warn me.”
The morning of 24 February 2022 ruined their plans and dreams. When the Russian forces started their offensive in Kharkiv Region, the family fled to the western region of Zakarpattia.
Once again, they were uprooted, with no livelihoods and only with one suitcase in their arms. The war and displacement had a serious impact on the health and well-being of Stanislav and Nataliia, as well as their elderly parents.
Within its protection programming, IOM supported the family helping Stanislav to become more self-reliant. He was provided with tools and a hammer drill and is now able to provide services as an electrician. Being able to work again, he rented an apartment for his family and can cover the most urgent needs.
Both Stanislav and Nataliia are hopeful that they will be able to return to Kharkiv and help rebuild the city: “We believe that these tools from IOM will be helpful in rebuilding Ukraine when the war is over”, Natalia and Stanislav share their plans.