Kovalenko refugee family lives in the small, partly abandoned village of Steshchyna 30 km away from the Chernobyl exclusion zone in the north of Ukraine. They made their new home so close to the Chernobyl radioactive reactor despite risks of radiation contamination.

The life of the single mother Maryna and two her teenage daughters Olena and Iryna was hardly affected by the ongoing war in the east of Ukraine. They lived in the village of Toshkivka in the Luhansk region, one of two war-torn territories that are now controlled by Russia-backed separatists. This family lost everything it had before: their house, assets, land, furniture.

The mother Maryna decided to start all over again in the vicinity to Chernobyl because they managed to get an old wooden house there for free. Everything else, inter alia all bureaucratic procedures, was also easy for them here. They moved in to the place from which the others are moving out leaving behind scarсe aging population.

This place appeared to be the only one in the whole country where such a refugee family could afford to make a new home. Throughout the war and in its aftermath Maryna relied only on herself having no external support, apart from low refugee social benefits.

The war appeared to be something much more dangerous for them than radiation.

Now the older daughter Olena needs treatment and kidney surgery. Their new house urgently needs repairs, renovation and a new heating system.

After surgery Olena will need a costly rehabilitation. The family has no money for all this.

Dear friends, even by making a small contribution, we might be improving the life of the family that moved from the edge of one disaster – war – to the edge of the other – Chernobyl nuclear fallout!

This is the family that in desperate conditions relied just on itself. It would be great to show them that they are not alone.

Here’s where to donate to help Kovalenko family – DONATE

Please, add a note: “Kovalenko” project

Resource BBC News