My daughter cries every day because her husband has had to stay behind to fight

How HelpAge staff and their families cope as war takes hold, again.


How HelpAge staff and their families cope as war takes hold, again.
The war has affected everyone, including our own staff. Our area manager ran HelpAge’s emergency work in Eastern Ukraine, a programme we launched when the conflict with Russia-backed separatists started in 2014. For the people here, conflict and insecurity have been their way of life for years. The declaration of all-out war with a horrific focus once again on the east of the country has upended everyone’s life.
Our area manager fled her home in the east to Lviv, 1500 km away, with her daughter, granddaughter, and a work friend from HelpAge. She tell us how she’s coping.

Facing turmoil once again

“It’s very difficult to change our life again. In 2014 we had to move but we were close enough to return home sometimes. Now it’s a very difficult situation and we don’t know how long it will be for.” 

Impact on staff and mental health – toll of the last 7 years

“My staff ask me where they will get enough strength to continue because we have provided an emergency response for seven years, and with Covid restrictions over the last two, it’s been very difficult for us for so long. ” 

Continuing to work despite it all

“There is a lot to do here. We’ve set up an office and started negotiations with the local authorities about the needs of older people but are looking to help everybody regardless of age right now because the need is so great.”

How she copes

“We live for one day. Maybe something will change tomorrow; next week, maybe a new reality, so I must be flexible. It doesn’t feel real. I feel bad but I must be an example to my staff and continue to help older people.”
By Sally Clarke, Communications Consultant, HelpAge International
Find out what we’re doing to help older people in Ukraine.