“Displaced Dreams” / «Переміщені мрії»: історія переселенців про втрачену домівку та відроджене життя

This issue of “UNconditional” concentrates on the life of the family of Kateryna Sokhta’s, an IDP from Mariupol, who despite the horrors of war, fear for her small children, lack of work and housing, has managed to restore the life of her family and, together with her husband, continues making their dreams come true in Ukraine. Though in another city, she is building her life as passionately and confidently as before.

The program was prepared by Andriy Lyfar, Natalia Lohvynenko and Rostyslav Diahiliev. The text was read by Natalia Lohvynenko.

У четвер 13 вересня об 11.00, та у п’ятницю 14 вересня, о 15.00 на радіо «Юніверс» другий випуск програми «НЕумовно». У цьому випуску проекту «Неумовно» ідеться про життя родини переселенки із Маріуполя Катерини Сохти, яка не зважаючи на пережиті жахи війни, страх за маленьких дітей, відсутність житла та роботи, зуміла відновити життя своєї родини і разом із чоловіком продовжує втілювати свої мрії в Україні, в іншому місті, але, так само, щиро та впевнено будує своє життя.

Today, the world faces the largest number of refugees in history, with their number reaching seventy million people. Over forty million of them have the status of internally displaced people. These are the people who, due to various circumstances, such as natural disasters, persecutions or conflicts, had to leave their homes, but remained to live in their home country.

According to the Ministry for Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons, because of the Russian aggression, about one and a half million Ukrainians had to learn what it is like to be an internally displaced citizen. According to the Press Service of the Zaporizhzhia Regional Administration, by mid-2018 in Zaporizhzhia region the number of internally displaced people crossed the mark of seventy thousand. Our region continues to receive those who are looking for a new home and provide them with a place to live.

Over the four years, these people have faced multiple challenges, many of which remain unresolved. The Ukrainian state, as well as its international partners, is exerting every effort to make this situation change for better. To date, a large number of programs and projects on vocational retraining, psychological adaptation, and financial support for IDPs have been launched and implemented.

Dry statistics has it that every registered person suffered a personal story of losses, fears, expectations, and displaced dreams.

The guest of our today’s program, Kateryna Sokhta, an internal immigrant, is now a resident of the village of Bilotserkivka which is in Zaporizhzhia region. She is a young mother of two who made a decision to leave after the bombing of Skhidnyi district in Mariupol in January 2015. Then, the bombardment took lives of 31 people, including children … Needless to say, it was a family decision with very short-lived hesitations – the lives and health of the two babies outweighed all the other factors.

They had what to lose: a customary family life, promising job — Kateryna worked at the Department of Greek Philology at Mariupol State University, she was a teacher. The very decision to leave the city where she was born, grew up, where her friends and relatives lived, was very difficult. But the fear for children, for their future, the fear called “war” which forever had settled in her mind, demanded firm actions. The family tried to move to another district of Mariupol first, but did not find peace there. Then, Katia and her husband decided that they had to leave, that they would definitely find work, and that she could do research outside the university walls.

The new place was sensibly chosen, unlike many settlers they were not aiming at a big city, but a village. They understood that they had to build a new, or more honestly, another life in a calmer and more comfortable place. In general, Bilotserkivka was not completely alien and foreign for the family as this is where Kateryna’s husband’s mother was born; relatives, though distant, lived there and that’s them who helped the family to settle down and supported them in the first months after the relocation.

Today, Kateryna Sokhta teaches English to schoolchildren of Bilotserkivka and dreams of her own business – a foreign language center for children. The old house, received from her family, is gradually being renovated, getting the feeling of home, family life; the family are not going to move it. Our guest can now confidently plan about her family future, although there are still many challenges ahead, but they are manageable when there is support.

Kateryna Sokhta’s example is not typical. We are confident that this family will do well, but while the United Forces Operation is going on in the East of Ukraine there will be people statistically referred to as internally displaced persons. These people usually change places, fear and lack of foothold make them move cities again and again in search of a home. According to the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, over 32 000 internally displaced people went through the territory of Zaporizhzhia region last year, they all keep looking for their new life, they all need help and support, and an UNconditional approach to their problems.