Lida Moniava, director of the children's hospice "House with a lighthouse"
Until I started helping refugees, I lived with such a picture of the world - refugees are taken to Russia by force, no normal person will seek shelter in our country, the only help that these people may need is to help them quickly leave for Europe or Ukraine.
When I started helping refugees, I realized that the request from them is divided into 2 streams. 1 - really help to leave (and we are doing this). 2 - a lot of people really want to stay in Russia and ask for help with housing-food-work-clothes here. Since I had an idea in my head that people are in Russia under compulsion (forcibly, intimidated, etc.), I ask everyone if they really want to stay here, if they really don’t need help to leave, why is that? Decided to share people's answers. And then, judging by the aggression in the comments, many people live in a black and white picture of the world (as I had recently), which does not correspond to reality.
- Relatives. Many people have relatives in Russia and no relatives in Europe, and so on. They go to Russia because their relatives are here.
- The language barrier. If people do not know a foreign language, they understand that they will not be able to find work in their profession abroad and will be forced to live on benefits / engage in low-skilled work. And for children, too, parents are trying to reduce stress by maintaining the familiar language environment.
- Established contacts. Many people had previously established contacts in Russia, for example, their husbands went here to work. Now they bring their wives and children here because they have jobs and acquaintances here.
- Lack of foreign travel experience. Someone has never traveled to Europe, to other countries. They have a lot of fears, prejudices, myths about this. I already wrote how one mother, for example, believes that in Europe "children are taken away if the children scream."
- Territorial proximity. Someone says so: "It will be closer to return home from Russia".
For me, everything that happens is a terrible personal tragedy and guilt. At the same time, I saw that many people run from the bombs not for political reasons, but simply to get to a safe place. And for them, everyday questions come first - where can they find housing? job? Where do they have anyone they know? I don’t know if people are being taken to Russia by force or voluntarily, but many really decide to stay here voluntarily.
In one volunteer chat, families were asked to bring headphones for the children so that the children would not hear the explosions of fireworks and the air parade on May 9 (which, fortunately, did not take place). All this is very difficult, difficult. But people who have lost their homes because of the war are equally in need of help, wherever they are. It is strange that this should be justified and explained.