human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Nastia’s story #whatishome

Nastia, 8 years old, Eastern Ukraine

Nastia fled with her father and brother from the fighting in eastern Ukraine to Russia.

Nastia’s new home is now a small room in a hotel in Wolschsky in Russia. She shares it with her dad, brother, aunt, and cousin. The hotel has rented the three upper floors to refugees from Ukraine. The five of them live on twelve square meters. Here they cook, eat and sleep. There is no additional communal kitchen. “After all,” says Nastia dryly, “the view from the 17th floor is pretty good.”

The hotel is in a very bad condition. It is hard to imagine that the owners will rent the rooms again to tourists at some point. The rent is 5,000 rubles. Actually not a huge sum but for refugee families it is still very difficult to raise. Nastia’s father hopes that the fixed address in the hotel will help them get their official registration. Then he would also get a work permit and would no longer have to work black for a pittance.

Nastia spends her afternoons in the children’s center that Caritas has set up on the 15th floor of the hotel. Here, too, it gets tight when more than 20 children and two educators are in the former conference room. But after the meal, it’s time to play outside anyway. That’s what Nastia likes best. She also appreciates that she is learning to cook here. The children help with preparing meals. In her room it is too tight for that.

This story has originally been published by Caritas International Germany