The fifth day of the Christmas tour, Global Christian Support team spent in Mariinka, Donetsk region in cooperation with the chaplain Oleg Tkachenko.
The city is still under constant shelling, as it is located very close to the demarcation line. A lot of children live in the “red zone” (the hottest spots in the area of military actions), because this is the last Ukrainian city near the territory of the Donetsk People Republic (DPR).
The Christmas performance for the children was held at the local school, which was under heavy shelling for several times. About 60 children, parents and teaching staff were invited to the celebration. Most of the children present at school that evening were injured during the shellings. For example, there was a boy, who miraculously survived after getting shell fragments in his head.
We noticed that because of the constant shellings, all the windows in the school were covered with dense sandbags, since they help to stop the bullets at least for a little. Also the walls in the school are marked with bright red and green lines. When the shelling begins, children should not stay near the walls with the red line. They have to be near the walls with green line. Red lines mean that the place could be under shelling and it is dangerous to stand there, green lines mean that there is a safe places, and children can hide there in case of shooting. It all makes the school have a frightening atmosphere. Our volunteers felt anxious all the time.
Despite this, the atmosphere was wonderful, the school staff was very friendly, and the children, although they looked scared, were thankful for the gifts we had brought for them. Most of children began to open presents with sweets and eat it immediately, because they even were not sure whether they would come back home because of the ongoing shelling all over the city. The children from this territory are completely different, they have not a happy childhood, they just can live in constant fear for their lives, when every moment can be the last. Therefore these children need to feel love, comfort and the atmosphere of holiday more than anyone else when they have at least a small chance.
We believe that all our deeds can influence the lives of children and we can show them love of God and a loving Father who was born to this world to save His children and never leave them alone, even despite a terrible war, that turned their childhood into a nightmare.