Maryna Mykolayivna’s eyes are hot with tears. She stabs the air angrily with pointed fingers as she describes how on 24 February 2022, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, her employer at an orphanage in the eastern city of Lusychansk told her to immediately evacuate five children to another institution in Lviv – more than one thousand kilometres away.
“I didn’t want to go,” says the assistant educator. “I have two daughters and three grandchildren.” Maryna has been in the western city of Lviv, just 70 kilometres from the Polish border, for nearly eight months now. “I miss my home. I’m living in the orphanage 24 hours a day. I can’t rent my own place – I’m paid, but not enough. You couldn’t understand what I’m going through unless you’d gone through it yourself. I’m on the brink of leaving.”
As she speaks, the shrieking of children in the room intensifies. The group of 11 children aged three to eight years at the Lviv Children’s Shelter are stressed themselves. The state placed these children into institutional care after judging their parents unfit to care for them. They have already suffered domestic traumas; now they are living in a state of war...
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