The full-scale war in Ukraine affected every member of the Terre des hommes team in Ukraine. Almost all of us were forced to leave our cities due to rocket fire and occupation. This is especially true in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, where we have implemented projects to support children and youth.
This is the story of Anton Biliuk, a Child Protection Field Officer at Terre des hommes in Ukraine who worked at the Severodonetsk office but was forced to leave his city with his family since the start of the war to find a safer place.
The war in Ukraine, which began on February 24, changed my life and the lives of my family. I lived in Sievierodonetsk with my wife and pet. On February 24, I woke up from a phone call at half past four. It was a friend of mine from Kharkiv who said that the war had started.
I did not believe what I heard (I thought it was just a bad joke), and in the background I could hear the sounds of incoming shells. I immediately turned on the TV, where all the TV channels had the same information that Russia had attacked Ukraine. It was like a scary movie, when you switch channels and the same information everywhere. The following hours and the information we received from the media showed us the scale of the invasion and the number of shellings throughout Ukraine.
On the first day of the rocket attack destroyed the airport in Sievierodonetsk, it was two powerful explosions, at this time I was on the street, and it seemed that the ground was shaking underfoot. From February 24 to March 4, we were in Sievierodonetsk and hid in the basement of our house with other residents. As the shelling intensified, we decided to evacuate to a safer place. Gathered the most necessary things and went out to wait for the car. It was at this time that they began firing at the city from the hail, shells flew overhead, whistling and falling on a nearby street. Fortunately, we managed to leave, we spent the next four days on the road, traffic jams were very large, for 10 hours on the road we were able to travel only 150 kilometres.
Now my wife and I live in Ivano-Frankivsk region, where our team is preparing for the start of a new project. In my free time, my wife and I volunteer to send humanitarian aid to the regions affected by the shelling.
Another interesting observation about the Ukrainian people was how united we all were for our victory. First, every Ukrainian is a volunteer. Secondly, every Ukrainian is a defender. Third, people support each other no matter who speaks what language, what church they go to. And fourthly, in every community, both rural and urban, humanitarian centres have been set up, where people bring things, food, hygiene items and hand them over to the most in need IDPs.
This is the conditions in which our country lives, struggling every day with the new challenges posed by Russia in starting the war against Ukraine, but we will surely survive and win.