#Ukraine Temporary protection card extended until 2025
Faces from Ukraine - Anita

Faces from Ukraine: Anita

“I had to pick the children up to avoid having them stomped.”

Translation is available for this content

Váltás magyarra

Until the war broke out, Anita had been living in Serne in the Zakarpattia Oblast with her two children and her husband. Then she and her children had to leave everything behind – their own house, their entire life. They fled because they feared their life was in immediate danger.

“We had suspected that the war was approaching, but I would have never imagined that it would be like this when it happens. On that February 24 night, everything changed. At that moment, I didn’t care about anything apart from fleeing with my children. We didn’t have time for anything, I couldn’t even pack them socks, just grabbed them and the documents, and we dashed off. Thinking about it still makes me shiver.”

Anita recalls the panic taking control over others too.

Faces from Ukraine - Anita

“War, that’s a very bad thing, it’s not good because lots of people die in the war. We were really afraid, but Mom told us everything will be all right, and we crossed the border just fine. All my toys were left behind, and also my friend Sanyika. It was better at home, here I don’t have any friends yet.”

tells the 7-year-old Zolika.

Anita and the two children came through the Záhony border crossing. She had to hold her children tight throughout the whole journey because the Ukrainian soldiers ill-treated them before getting on the train to Hungary. They even pushed the mother holding their children over, but apart from the fright, they didn’t get hurt.

“It was a hellish situation, many people crossed the border then. They trampled each other. Only the thought that we won’t be afraid as soon as we arrive was keeping my spirits up. The children were also frightened, they cried, they were hungry and thirsty.”

Anita describes.

Faces from Ukraine - Anita

Zoltán, the father, was working in Hungary during those fateful hours too. He was worried and he felt helpless, he didn’t know how he could help.

“Everything was paralyzed, I didn’t know what would happen to them. Western Union didn’t work, so I couldn’t even send them money, I only knew that they were already on the road. I only calmed down when I saw them and I could hug them. By then I knew that they couldn’t get hurt.”

the father recalls the story in tears.

They lived in the father’s worker’s hostel for 1.5 months. After that, they got into the Oltalom Charity Society’s refugee shelter. Zoli goes to work, he can meet his family living in Budapest once a week. Anita works as well, she has a six-hours a day cleaning job. All they dream of is renting a place.

“It’s very hard to find a rental, we have been trying for months. But as soon as they hear that we have two children, we are Roma, and on top of that, Ukrainian refugees, all doors are closed. It’s no use that we could pay, they just don’t give us a rental flat.”

complains the mother.

The children already go to school and kindergarten here. They plan their life here, they don’t see any chance that they could return to Ukraine. With time, they would like to buy a small house here, they are collecting money for that.


Faces from Ukraine

Meet the others too!

Subscribe to our advocacy list!

Receive our fresh reports and analyses straight to your inbox by signing up here!

Subscribe to advocacy list
Hungarian Helsinki Committee