Three families – three war stories. The Peace Candle was lit in Caritas Ivano-Frankivsk


On Sunday, June 11, Caritas Ivano-Frankivsk brought together families affected by the war. An IDP family from Luhansk region, a family of the anti-terrorist operation participant and a local family took part in the meeting, devoted to the topic “The war in the history of my family”. The participants told about the war, its influence on their lives, shared their memories about the military conflict and drew up a dream map. By organizing such events, Caritas unites families and promotes peace inside the community. Each family has its own story.

The Zhuravliov family 

IDPS arrived from the Rovenky town in Luhansk region. At present, Serhiy, a father, Anna, a mother and five adopted children – Maksym, Svitlana, Yaroslava, Eduard and Valeriia live in Tysmenytsia and grow rabbits. The family has recently won a grant for development of their own business under the entrepreneurship project, implemented by Caritas Ivano-Frankivsk.

The spouses thank God for meeting kind people. Nevertheless, the war has had a negative impact on the family life and Ms. Anna’s health. The woman had a minor stroke. ‘I have been crying my eyes out for two years. When we were fleeing, I packed only one backpack with clothes for each child and only managed to put several toys to the bag of the youngest. It was extremely difficult, but my husband always supported and cheered me up’, the internally displaced woman says.

The Hryvnak family

The head of the family is a military man, a veteran of the anti-terrorist operation. Mother’s name is Nataliia, and two children – Vitalina and Bohdan. While waiting for their father from the East, children were drawing him pictures. The father carried out safety operations on liberated Donbas territories. ‘People there are the same as here in Western Ukraine. They want to live in peace, love and raise their children as much as we do’, the military man says. Six-year old Bohdan drew a picture of memories, in which he depicted the sea, sun and seagulls. Before the war broke out, the family had always spent their holiday in the Crimea, and hopes one day to travel there again.

The Mamalyha family

This is a local family.  Volodymyr, Nataliia and their two daughters called Khrystyna and Anastasiia. The war split them up with their close friends. While Nataliia’s husband was protesting in Ivano-Frankivsk square, their friend and a godfather of their child were making money in Russia. The last phone call put an end to the long-lasting relationships. ‘It happened in spring 2014, when my husband was asked what Ukraine had given him that he was burning tires at night. Even I did not know what to reply. My husband was utterly speechless’, Ms. Nataliia recalls.

Only this year, friends managed to get in touch. They want to come back home, asked if they a visa is required, and whether Nataliia could send an invitation.

‘There are a lot of difficulties and challenges, but if to solve them together, it takes less time to find a necessary solution, harmony and peace. Not only the peace which should prevail in the east, but the peace which wraps our hearts’, Father Volodymyr Chorniy, Director of Caritas Ivano-Frankivsk, concludes.

At the end of the meeting, the participants lit a symbolic peace candle and handled it to each other, wishing for kindness, faith, harmony and understanding.

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