Finding Hope in Bucharest

“When the war began, he started to have new symptoms, and he knew our life will not be same anymore.”

 

Tetiana was living in Bakhmut with her husband and 32-year-old son, Denys, who has Down syndrome, when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, though for them, the war began in 2014.

 

Tetiana was living in Bakhmut with her husband and 32-year-old son, Denys, who has Down syndrome, when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, though for them, the war began in 2014. Back then, pro-Russian separatists living in Bakhmut began holding rallies and calling for unification with Russia. Ukrainian forces, including Tetiana’s husband, successfully repelled Russian attacks, but when Russia launched its full-scale invasion in 2022, Bakhmut was not spared.

Tetiana and Denys evacuated from Bakhmut in the middle of March 2022. They feel fortunate that they got stuck in traffic on the way to the train station, because 15 minutes before they would have arrived, there was a missile attack at that station.

After getting out of the Donetsk region, they spent a week in western Ukraine, and eventually crossed the border to Bulgaria. They were able to live in a hotel financed by the Bulgarian government for a few months, but eventually that program ended. Finally, Tetiana and Denys arrived in Constanta, Romania, where government programs allowed them to live in hotels once again.

 

Denys, a Ukrainian refugee with Down's syndrome embracing his mother, Tetiana

 

“The beginning of the war was very hard for Denys to understand,” Tetiana says of her son. “He will always be a little boy. He is always smiling, like a sun child. But when the war began, he started to have new symptoms, and he knew our life will not be same anymore.”

Living in hotels was hard on Denys, though. They had to change hotels often, and Denys became confused and stressed, worried all the time that he might lose Tetiana. When the government aid in Romania ran out, Tetiana and Denys moved once more, this time to Bucharest. There, they found Habitat Romania, which helped them get a long-term apartment rental.

“My son has started to be more calm,” Tetiana says. “Finally, I can leave him alone at least for a few hours. I also found medical support for Deny because he has to take pills all the time. It’s very hard for me to find a job, but we still have some benefits. Thank you for the chance to live a normal life!”

 

“Thank you for the chance to live a normal life!”

 

Donate today to help us continue supporting families who have fled from Ukraine.

Donate

Related

Comments