In Ekaterina's village,
older people are forced
to stay behind.
Ekaterina, 70, lives alone in eastern Ukraine. Her story is one of many we are listening to as we respond to the Ukraine crisis.
I am a widow. I was born in this village and worked first as a nurse and then as a midwife until I retired. My two daughters got married and left, now they live in Russia. In 2021, my husband died after a long illness, and I was left alone.
In 2011, I fractured my hip due to osteoporosis. As the military conflict began in 2014, my health got worse, both physically and mentally.
I am feeling very lonely. Because of the conflict, my daughters can’t come to me. And I can’t visit them, as I am afraid to abandon my house. I keep in touch with my daughters only by phone.
I live on the line of contact, where they shoot almost every day. The shelling is what worries me the most. What if they hit the house, and blast the windows, roof, doors out? Who will help me? I am no longer young, and I will not be able to restore all this myself.
Prices have risen, many products are not in the store at all. It is important for me that I continue to receive my pension regularly and that shops do not close.
I wish people would not leave the village, there are very few of us left here anyway. Only older people stayed, the younger ones all left.
My communication is limited, as it is difficult for me to move around. A volunteer helps me to get to the store. To get to a pension fund or a hospital, I need to go to another city, which is very problematic for me.
I need to have something to eat and to heat the house. And I wish they would stop shooting.
If the war starts and they shoot hard, I will go down to the basement. There are safe places in the village, but first, you need to get there, and it may not be safe.
I know that in the most difficult situation I can always turn to a volunteer, and she won’t refuse me. Many thanks to HelpAge International volunteer Elena, who is coming to talk to me in difficult times, supporting me, helping me buy medicines and food, and telling me about the latest news in the village. I think that HelpAge volunteers will not leave us in trouble, there is only hope for them.
I want to wish all a peaceful sky, warm bread, clean water, and no war.