Children in eastern Ukraine are worried about their future

Shells. Landmines. Shrapnel. Shrapnel. For nearly eight years, fear has dominated the lives of children living in eastern Ukraine. Children are now more afraid than ever because of the escalating conflict.

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Like many children, Daryna, 9, and Katia, 7, live in eastern Ukraine, along the so-called contact line which divides government- and non-government-controlled areas. They haven’t had the opportunity to worry about many of the same things as other children their age. They have other things on their minds, like where to evacuate to.

Daryna states, “If we had the option to leave, I would take my teddy bear and food, as well as my family.” “I will not go anywhere without my family.

Katia and Daryna grew up with conflict as their only knowledge. They are right to be afraid. A local school was attacked earlier in the month.

Daryna says, “When they fired our curtains began to flake.” “Katia was afraid. We found out via the internet that only one person had been injured and that the school had been attacked.

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For many years, thousands of children who live along the contact line have been dealing with the uncertainty and stress of having to flee their families at any moment.

Nastia says that she recently discussed with her family what to do in case of an attack.

Nastia says, “We have a cellar nearby the house that we can hide in case they shoot.” “But I don’t want the shelling to occur again because it’s really frightening. It’s impossible to predict where the shell will land or where it will hide.

Nastia claims that she feels more anxious than usual for the past month and has been reading, drawing, and talking to her sister to help with this.

She says, “If I had the choice, I would take a book to lift me spirits or a soft toy to help me fall asleep and calm down.”

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Illia  has been cleaning out the basement below his house in preparation for a bomb shelter.

He says, “This basement saved our lives a thousand of times.” “We felt safer here that above ground. Since the beginning of the conflict, we have opened the basement door so many time that the hinges broke.

Illia and his family will flee their home if necessary. Illia says, “It doesn’t seem to be worth fixing the hinges again now.”

Illia had already begun to prepare himself for the intensification in hostilities in February. You pack what you can. You can just run if you don’t have the time. Your chances of survival increase the faster you get out of the area.

Illia claims that the only thing he is certain he will take with him is a sterling bracelet. He never takes it off of his wrist.

He says, “It means so much to me.” It’s a gift from my parents.

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More than half a million children play, learn, and live in one of the most dangerously mined areas in the world every day. Regular attacks have occurred on homes, schools, hospitals, and critical water and sanitation facilities.

The psychological well-being and mental health of children has already been affected by this prolonged crisis. If the fighting does not stop, more families may be forced to flee, and thousands of children will have to make difficult decisions.