Embed video
Donbass: Restoring Childhood

Orphans from Donbass hope for a better future in Russia

Lidia Kovalyova grew up in an orphanage. She had a tough childhood, but became determined to overcome any challenges that came her way, and vowed to support as many children as possible, who are in similar situations. As Lidia matured, she started to fulfil this desire and by 2023, she had adopted 23 kids. They lived happily together in Donetsk until Ukrainian nationalists started bombing the city and shelling civilians. ‘There was a huge blast when I went to a dance class in Donetsk’, recalls 9-year-old Rostislav Kolomoets. This prompted Lidia to urgently begin to look for a new home, in order to protect the kids under her care. She was terrified about the idea and possibility that the kids could die under such heavy artillery fire. Lidia reached out to a businessman in Novocherkassk, Russia, who converted his office to a comfortable house where the family could live safely. However, saving children from the conflict zone has been described by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) as stealing them without their consent. Children are allegedly reported to be forcibly taken to Russia. While the fact that all the kids taken in order to save their lives are being returned to their parents and relatives, once they’re found, has been conveniently ignored. Watch the documentary to hear voices of the children who have been saved by Lidia.