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Two friends created 50 homes for Ukrainian war refugees out of abandoned village houses

Ukrainian war refugees
Tetiana and Viktoria in their humanitarian assistance hub. Photo:
Two friends created 50 homes for Ukrainian war refugees out of abandoned village houses

Tetiana and Viktoria, two friends from Ukraine’s Kirovohrad Oblast, organized a volunteer movement, equipping 50 empty houses for Ukrainians fleeing from Russian shelling. After Russia started the war against Ukraine, the women provided shelter for about 250 refugees whose houses were destroyed by Russian attacks, the Ukrainian media outlet told.

“We cried for the first five days, and then we realized that we had to do something,” says one of the volunteers, Tetiana.

Before Russia launched a full-scale invasion, Tetiana and Viktoria were housekeepers and cared about their own families. Both women have children. Viktoria has two kids and Tetiana has four.

“Our children sleep in their own beds and play with their own toys. They eat what they love. They do what they did before, and other children don’t have that,” says Tetiana, explaining why they started helping those who were forced to leave their homes.

Their village, where about 2,000 people live, has no hostels; however, many empty houses stand in it. The
old clay houses have no modern renovations or conveniences. In order to make them warmer and cozier, the women set about to put everything in order. Friends also joined them.

When there was a large influx of refugees in March, they could even furnish two or three houses in a day.

They entered houses where no one had lived for years, where the plaster was falling off and mice ran rampant. They cleaned, whitewashed, painted, glued wallpaper, and even hung curtains.

They not only cleaned the houses, but also furnished them with the most necessary things: dishes, blankets and pillows, bed linen, mattresses, some furniture.

Carpets on the floor and walls became an integral element of the design. They were brought from all over the world, including from the oblast center, Kropyvnytskyi.

They installed field hand washers, because not all of the houses had running water. Later, they purchased new electric stoves and shower tanks were purchased.

“Each refugee has his own summer shower now,” says Tetiana.

Their fellow villagers also provide support. To coordinate the work, volunteers created two chats in the Viber app: one for the displaced people only, the other for the residents of the village.

“Everyone interested is gathered here: from children to grandmothers who have gadgets. And if we need something, we write there,” says Viktoria.

In addition, women help the Ukrainian Army, cooking for them and sending food to the front lines. The refugees actively help too.

The village houses before and after renovation
The village houses before and after renovation
The village houses before and after renovation
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