Vital support and supplies are helping Olga survive the Ukraine crisis

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"My soul hurts for my loved ones. My grandchildren grow up without their grandmother's care."

Olga, Ukraine

Meet Olga

Olga lives alone in eastern Ukraine. Her story is one of many we are listening to as we respond to the Ukraine crisis. 

I am 71. I live in a village located five kilometers from the contact line. I have been a widow for 14 years. I live alone in a small house. I have a son, a grandson, a granddaughter, and two great-grandchildren, they all live in the uncontrolled territory of Ukraine.

I receive a pension in the amount of 3200 UAH (100 USD) a month. My pension is my only source of income.

I can’t walk well, due to pain in my legs and joints. I suffer from high blood pressure and severe headaches.

I constantly hear explosions, and I don’t know if they will reach me or not.

I am very worried about the current situation with the Russian invasion. We lived normally until the 90s, both Russia and Ukraine, we were as one, we could normally travel to each other, and there were no barriers.

My opinion about the situation with the hostilities: this is disgrace and madness.

What worries me most now is that I have been separated from my son. There is a checkpoint on the border. My son visits me very rarely, imagine how exhausting and dangerous it is for him to get through the checkpoint and get home.

My soul hurts for my loved ones. My grandchildren grow up without their grandmother’s care. At least I have a mobile phone and can hear their voices.

Everyone needs peace and quiet: children, adults, and older people. I do not want to worry about the lives of my children and grandchildren, and about what will happen to me tomorrow.

The crisis in Ukraine had a very negative impact on my everyday life. The prices for gas, food, medicines have risen. My pension is very small, so I try to save money. I only buy the essentials.

I receive a subsidy for housing and communal services, but it is constantly being reduced. I have to heat with firewood but it needs to be bought, chopped, and put in a shed. I am not able to do this myself. I have to ask people and pay them for work.

We also have a problem in the village due to the closure of the post office. They promise that there will be a mobile post service, but this is new and unfamiliar to me.

My main needs are food and medicine. The store is very far from my house and there is no way to get there without a car. Thank God they deliver bread around the village and bring that directly to my house.

If a war breaks out, the only place to hide is in the cellar. There is a bomb shelter at the local school, but it is four to five km away from us.

If a big war starts, we will all help each other, as we will all be in the same circumstances, and we will decide together what to do and how to survive.

HelpAge helped me a lot morally and financially. Thanks to HelpAge volunteer Katya, I don’t feel lonely and forgotten. I can always call Katya if I need help or information. HelpAge provided me with a good blanket, a large hygiene kit, and COVID protection. I really need all this. With my small pension, I wouldn’t have been able to afford so many necessary goods.

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