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[Ukraine ]An interview with an Ukrainian family who evacuated with a cat

Peace Winds Japan, in cooperation with our partner organization NCUM (National Congress of Ukraine in Moldova), has been delivering hot meals to those who have evacuated from Ukraine and stay at a temporary shelter in Moldovan capital Chisinau. Among the people who stay at these shelters, some apply for residence visas, some seek private housings to stay longer, and others prepare to move onto another country.

We interviewed a family of three (mother, 18-year-old daughter, 15-year-old son and a cat) on August 24 at one of the NCUM shelters. The sister and brother, who are fluent in English, told us their story of evacuation.

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from left, mother, son, daughter and their cat
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the daughter and son told us about their experience

The family left Dnipro in eastern Ukraine on August 21 and arrived in Chisinau on the following day. They heard air-raid alerts almost every day in Dnipro which is close to Russia. They took a train from Dnipro to Odessa in southern Ukraine and then took a bus to Chisinau. Laden with luggage, each exceeding 20 kg, their path to safety was far from easy.

They arrived in Chisinau in the middle of night and had no idea of where to go because public shelters did not allow pets. And then they heard of this shelter run by NCUM.

Their 1-and-a-half-year-old cat is usually full of energy but had not eaten for two days during the transition maybe due to stress. However, she suddenly started eating while we were talking. The mother who had been so worried about her seemed relieved.

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the cat had not eaten for two days

The sister and brother decided to go to schools outside of Ukraine in the new school year because they do not wish to change schools depending on the situation in Ukraine after the Russian invasion. They are very worried about their friends in Dnipro.

The family plans to move on to Azerbaijan where their relative lives. They do not know yet when they can leave because it is taking some time for them to obtain a permission to let the cat on board a plane to Azerbaijan.

It was encouraging to listen to them cheerfully talk about their friends, beautiful scenery of Ukraine and so on, even though they are not free of anxieties.

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a beautiful scenery of Ukraine which the sister and the brother took a photo of before they left their country

The siblings cheer up others in the shelter. Small children are big fan of theirs. Even though the life in shelters are not easy, we found new bonds forming.

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children are making new bonds

We continue to work with NCUM so that people who evacuated from Ukraine can stay in Moldova safely and comfortably. This project has been made possible in cooperation with NCUM and financial support from the Japan Platform as well as contributions from doners and donor organizations. Thank you.

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