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Halyina and her boys

Halyina had nowhere to go

Most inhabitants left the village of Lymany when it was bombed and shelled by the Russians. But Halyina Ivanivna stayed, with her nine-year-old twins Stas and Rostik. She had nowhere to go.

Halyina stayed during bombardments

Surviving in a desolate village

Not much is left of the village of Lymany, Mykolaiv Oblast, Ukraine. Nearly 90 per cent of all houses are damaged or in ruins. The village was shelled and bombed. Most inhabitants left to seek refuge in safer environments. But not Halyina Ivanivna. She stayed, with her nine-year-old twins Stas and Rostik. “I had nowhere to go.”

Lymany is a small village in the Mykolaiv region in Ukraine with 2500 inhabitants before the war. Halyina and her boys moved from the city of Bashtanka to Lymany in May 2021, as a special school in Mykolaiv offers better attendance for her hearing impaired son Rostik.

During the constant bombardment of the village, she decides to stay. “I didn’t know what else to do,” she said. “I was on social welfare and could only survive with my pigs, goose and kitchen garden.”  

Hard times of survival began. For one month Halyina had no electricity and cooked on open fire in the garden. The roof and parts of her house got damaged. At the risk of losing their lives, volunteers bring food and hygiene items to inhabitants remaining in the village.

Halyina with a ZOA worker

Thankfully, after a couple of months, the bombing and shelling stop. As part of ZOA’s cash for shelter programme, funded by the European Union, Halyina’s house is repaired. Her roof is fixed. Halyina, Stas and Rostik can breathe again.

Lessons for the boys are still mostly online, but school have reopened for one or two days a week. Halyina is thankful for the support she received. “My livestock is growing again,” she said. “And we planted strawberries in the garden for this summer.”

Read more about ZOA's work in Ukraine