A Filipino mother's story sheds light on the struggles of many migrant families who are caught in the middle of the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Rhea Rhose Ramos Taibova, a migrant mother from the Philippines, shared some of her experience of the war, and how they moved from the capital Kyiv to a small village to protect their family when the conflict broke out last year, in an article by the South China Morning Post.
Taibova described the start of the war as a shock to them as they were on holiday in her in-laws’ village a few miles outside Kyiv when Russia launched its offensive on 24 February.
Her husband rushed to the capital to pack their belongings but had to leave quickly when Russian bombs started dropping, and was unable to carry everything they needed.
Taibova said she was grateful they were not near a kindergarten school and a mall when they were struck by a barrage of Russian missiles.
Despite Philippine officials ordering the mandatory evacuation of all its citizens from Ukraine in March last year, Taibova and her family were unable to get repatriated after deciding not to go to an evacuation site due to the fear of getting hit on the way there, especially since they were travelling with babies.
Taibova said the first ten days of the war was the most difficult for them, saying she kept crying, but her baby gave her the strength to cope with the situation by just looking and smiling at her.
Although the Philippine government has repatriated 400 of the 450 recorded Filipinos in Ukraine, Taibova is one of the few who insisted on staying as she couldn’t bear leaving her husband and his family. Travelling with her then newborn daughter who did not have travel documents was also a risk she wasn't willing to take with many civilians dying on their way to the border.
Recently, Taibova went to the Philippines to finalise the documents needed to apply for permanent residency in Ukraine. She plans to rejoin her husband and daughter this month, but she is uncertain about the future.
She said she prefers to stay and live in Ukraine as long as there is no war.
Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and lifestyle writer who focuses on politics, the economy, and pop culture. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.
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