As the war continues to drag on in Eastern Ukraine, in addition to the many refugees fleeing to the western part of the country, there are also many women who have been widowed as their husbands have gone to fight in the East, and sadly been killed. Men who volunteered to go, not as part of the regular army, are not recognised by the government as war heroes, and no pension is given to their widows and children, leaving them in acute poverty.
This is where Territory 2:2, a Christian NGO based in Lutsk, has stepped in. They have made a list of widows in desperate need of help, and have committed to providing both regular financial assistance, and also emotional and practical support, in the form of meetings, outings and relationships. There are currently 16 widows in this group, as well as around 100 others who they support whenever they can.
Of course, money is needed to provide this support - to enable each family to have warm clothes for the coming Winter, we would like to raise £1000.
As an illustration of the circumstances and needs involved, here are the stories of two of the widows:
Maryna lives in Volodymyr Volynsk, a remote village where there are other widows, who Maryna continues to help as she is able, despite having 4 children, aged between 6 and 16, to bring up alone since the death of her husband.
Iryna lives in the same town, and her husband’s death came at a particularly poignant moment. She and her husband had planned to adopt a child - they had gone through all the necessary application process and were waiting for a child to be found. By the time Social Services had found a suitable child, Iryna’s husband had died in the war in the East. Iryna decided to go ahead with the adoption, in honour of the dream she and her husband had shared. She has a 16-year-old son, and now this baby of 5 months. She had left her job to care for the baby, and now has no husband to provide for them. She too is trying to help other widows, despite her own despair and needs.