Family’s fear for ‘adoptive sons’ in Ukraine

THE WAR in Ukraine may be over 2,000 miles away, but for many Fermanagh families the horror we are witnessing on our TV screens is painfully close to home.
Since 1994, the Chernobyl’s Children Appeal has brought hundreds of young people affected by the Ukrainian power plant disaster to the Fermanagh and Omagh area, where they spent time living with local families. Now, these families are watching on in fear for the children they cared for.
Eveline Smith and her husband Ynyr have been involved with the appeal for over 11 years, and have hosted a total of 36 boys who she said she “had the pleasure to call our adoptive sons and family.”
While they have been sending messages since the invasion began, Eveline said they had been unable to contact any of these children, who she said she had loved like they were her own.
With almost all the boys now in their 20s, Eveline fears they may be involved in the fighting and has been posting their names and photographs to Facebook, telling the Herald she wanted to “show people their faces” so they could see the human impact of this war.
Speaking to the Herald on Monday the Boa Island woman, who lives in Dromore, said she had been thinking about the boys all weekend and the fact they are “most likely to have had to join the other fathers and sons of their country in Ukraine to fight a senseless war that should never be.”
“When I think of my boys I feel their pain, this is not someone else’s war but a war against family and friends that we had the pleasure to welcome to our homes and hearts and love as our own children,” she said.

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