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Stories that you confided to us

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Natalia Shahud
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Shchastia
Shchastia
"First, I had to make a get-away from Syria…"

The war went through her entire life. At first, she was forced to flee Syria with her children. She still does not know anything about the fate of her husband, who remained there. She brought the children to Luhansk, to her parents, but the war began. Thus, being displaced persons in the past, they now became internal refugees. They were forced to leave for the city of Shchastia. But even there the war reached them…

My children were born in Syria. We used to have a home there. It was our nest, with our beloved husband and father in it. No one deserves be born to experience the hardships of war, but this is the second war in our lives.

I have three daughters and a very young son. My children were born in Syria. We used to have a home there. It was our nest, with our beloved husband and father in it. No one deserves be born to experience the hardships of war, but this is the second war in our lives.

At first, I had to make a get-away from Syria, because it was incredibly scary to be under the muzzles of tanks and count the dead neighbors. I managed to save the children, but I never saw my husband again, and I don't know what happened to him, whether he is still alive.

"War has come to Luhansk"

I brought my children to my parents ' home in my much-loved city of Luhansk. At first, we were startled by any harsh sounds and calmed by the fact that the war was still far away, thousands of kilometers away. It was incredibly difficult for children to get used to a new way of life and to a new education system.

And again we were overtaken by the war. The shelling attacks began more regular, and our lives began to fall apart. Only now I was also responsible for my elderly parents. It was also their second war that they had witnessed.

First, I had to make a get-away from Syria…

My mother didn't survive – her heart stopped. We didn't know what to do. The situation escalated, and there was nowhere to run. We saw how firing positions of Grad launching systems passed by our house. It was terrifying to see them firing all their ammunition against the evening sky and driving past us again.

A mine hit the next house and killed our neighbor. The concept "My house is my castle" no longer existed.

Electricity, communications and water were cut off in Luhansk. Furthermore, it became difficult to find food.

We were supported by complete strangers. They found a place for us in their car and brought us to Shchastia. My 80-year-old father was also with us.

It was very cold. It was difficult for such a large family to live in someone else's one-room apartment. We had very little money with us.

"We were on last legs, but we didn't have the strength to run anymore"

We, who were recently former displaced persons, received a new status and became internal refugees. But the war did not give up on us. Soon the attacks were targeted in the direction of Shchastia. A mine fell on our house, destroyed the roof and knocked out all the windows. It was 13 January 2015.

We were on last legs, but we didn't have the strength to run anymore. The whole city suffered from bombings, houses collapsed, people were killed and injured. Sometimes there was no electricity, water, or heat in the city.

First, I had to make a get-away from Syria…

"Humanitarian products have been our only food for a long time"

And yet, we gradually got used to a new place, to a new quality of life, and to new people. Someone helped us – and we tried to help others as much as we could. Humanitarian aid has become a great support for us. Humanitarian products have been our only food for a long time.

When I was offered to become a social worker, I did not hesitate, not even a bit. This work made it possible to help lonely, frightened and confused old people. And of course, it was a small but stable income, real money. Children were growing up, and father got ill.

Soon he passed away. The house didn't become empty, it was just different. The only man in my house is my eight-year-old son, Ahmad.

First, I had to make a get-away from Syria…

"My daughter gave me two grandchildren, whom I could not hug"

The eldest daughters left Shchastia. One has married one of the refugees from Syria and moved to live in Turkey. The second daughter found a job as an Arabic translator in another city. My daughter, who was in the 10th grade, and my son, who was a primary school pupil, stayed with me.

My eldest daughter had two children, whom I could not hug and saw only via Skype. I can't even dream about meeting them. We live in survival mode. Travelling is a luxury we cannot afford.

I still work as a social worker. We, once a big family, still live in a rented apartment. We replaced the windows. We repaired the roof, and we are already used to the lovely and hospitable city of Shchastia.

"Our only home"

We no longer have a home in Syria, but we have a parent's home in Luhansk. This is our only home now. I don't know if we'll ever get back there I don't think anyone knows.

I miss it very much. I also miss the world, the normal life where people don't shoot each other and are not happy that they got hit. I just want simple, peaceful happiness for everyone. I don't think it's difficult or expensive at all… I pray for it!

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