Here are two letters that I have just received from the principals of the Centre of Rehabilitation for Disabled Children in Chernihiv, Ukraine. They are Dr. Vasyl Pasichnyk and his wife Dr. Natalya Zenchenko. They both founded (1996) and direct this clinic located 35 miles east of Chernobyl. More stories at https://www.lifenets.org/chernobyl The invasion by the Russians has hit home most directly and I would like to share these letters with you.
April 23, 2022
From Dr. Natalya Zenchenko. neurologist
Dear friends Victor and Beverly,
On the 59th day, the war continues on our land, people die, and cities and villages are destroyed. The aggressor - Russia - vilely, treacherously, worse than Hitler's Germany, attacked us. You have seen and understood everything - about Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol, Bucha, other cities where this horde passed. These are not fakes, as Russian propagandists are trying to prove to the world community!
Yesterday, Vasyl was organizing the funeral of our employee Natasha, who died on February 27, from a bomb that hit the building where she and her husband were hiding during an air raid. She died immediately but remained in the destroyed house for three weeks. Then the neighbors who survived the raid buried her in the yard. Natasha's husband was seriously injured the same day, he died after surgery in the hospital, and he was buried in his native village. He was not a soldier and did not have time to enlist in the ranks of defenders. Natasha was buried next to him.
This is the horror of the 21st century, and the atrocities are worse than they were in 1941-1945. We are very saddened by the fact that millions of Ukrainian citizens are forced to leave their homes and flee from Russian "liberators". It is sad that thousands of people are dying - defenders, civilians. It is unfortunate that two elderly parents committed suicide so that their daughter and grandchildren could go to the evacuation (she did not want to leave her helpless elderly parents and refused to go without them). We understand that we can continue to help people, so with the start of the war, on February 24 we adapted the Rehabilitation Center to a social shelter for needy people who lost their homes due to the significant destruction of our city.
From Monday, April 25, we will start providing rehabilitation assistance to children with disabilities who have remained in Chernihiv and those returning from evacuation. Our psychologists will provide psychological assistance to people with post-stress syndrome, such people - children and adults (with panic attacks, depression), unfortunately, a lot. We pray and pray to God for mercy, forgiveness, and peace. We hope to meet you are under a peaceful sky.
Greetings to all our friends from Vasily, Natasha, and all employees of the Revival Center.
With love, Natalia
From Dr. Vasyl Pasichnyk
To our dear friends Victor and Beverly Kubik,
Thank you very much for your congratulations and good wishes on the occasion of my birthday.
The Center has had problems with Internet connection for a long time due to equipment damage in the Ukrtel office in Chernihiv. Restoration work has been carried out there, so from now on we will be able to actively communicate with you again. Natasha (secretary) has also joined the work of the Center again, so she will actively help us in everything.
In Chernihiv, life is gradually improving - people are coming out of shelters and bomb shelters (out of 300 thousand inhabitants in the city left about 100 thousand). Some shops in the city have resumed, and although there are still long queues for food, you can buy what you need.
Fortunately, our fears of renewed shelling in the city did not materialize. Silence is broken only when sappers destroy shells found in the area or on the outskirts of the city.
The vast majority of families with young children have left the city and are now in safe areas of Chernihiv region, in the western regions of Ukraine or abroad. Unfortunately, now it is difficult to determine a place in Ukraine where you can be safe - missiles reach various points on the map of Ukraine. The other day a missile strike was inflicted on civilian targets in Lviv…
A volunteer from the Netherlands came to our Center with humanitarian aid, which includes medicines and baby food. This volunteer is a good acquaintance of Simon Brewer (son of Chris and Priscilla Brewer), he was actively involved in organizing this trip for us.
Today, the Center has 16 children with their mothers, 13 elderly homeless people. Since the beginning of hostilities on February 24, 2022) we have provided assistance for social shelter (160 people), through volunteer organizations, we also facilitated their evacuation from the city.
From April 25, we will resume our work to provide comprehensive rehabilitation for children with disabilities and children at risk. Twelve children have already been registered, two masseurs will work with them, one will be a physical rehabilitation specialist, three will be a rehabilitation teacher, and one teacher will be a speech therapist. We are also waiting for the return from the evacuation of our employees, children with disabilities, and their mothers - those who are still afraid to return. So very soon we will work as usual. The main thing is for PEACE to come to Ukraine as soon as possible.
Dear friends, if you want to provide us with financial assistance, we will be very grateful, the funds will be used to provide rehabilitation for children with disabilities, as well as to help those who have suffered as a result of military aggression by Russia.
[Information about how to help is at https://lifenets.org/lifenets-ukraine-emergency-fund/]
With respect and gratitude,