There were a lot of signs that we weren’t welcome here. Comments from neighbors. A letter in which a “committee of residents” asked us to spare them the sight of our patients, because, they wrote literally, “we are not as used to it as you are and we are impressed”. Crooked looks. A neighbor, during the fire, was watching the burning house the whole time. Without intervening or calling for help. But we will not leave. The director Natalia Onipko has no doubts: those responsible for the arson that in recent days devastated the construction site of her family home for cancer children Dacha, in Sovky, a suburb of Kiev, are to be found among the neighbors.
La Dacha: a family home for children with cancer
The Dacha should inaugurate at the end of the year: a residence for children with cancer with their families, which at full capacity will have to host 13 families and offer them food, accommodation, physiotherapy, psychological support, shuttles to the nearby children’s hospital. It was founded by the local association Zaporuka, with the support of the Italian NGO Soleterre, to triple the number of patients already cared for by an initial smaller structure, not far away: so far, since 2018, they have been 371. But one small house and we are rented, we can’t do everything we want. On land donated to the association, therefore, it was decided to build the Dacha, which should be ready by December 2021. And here the troubles began. The residential area, mainly inhabited by former policemen and retired soldiers. People who care about order and decorum, explains Onipko. The sight of sick children, perhaps with their heads bald from chemo, not decent for them. They asked us to “make an effort of empathy” and put ourselves in their shoes. Them to us, understand ?. More than a matter of empathy, comments the president of the Italian Soleterre Damiano Rizzi, the neighbors would be animated by an absolutely distorted concern that the value of their homes will be depleted by the proximity to a place they see as sad. an idea of a society where there is only room for rich, beautiful and friendly children.
Arson in the Dacha: three people could die
So, after a few open letters from the neighborhood and a lot of rumblings on social media, on Sunday the tragedy touched. The house is almost ready and the two masons who are building it and a vigilante slept in it, explains Onipko. A bricklayer around half past eleven wakes up to go to the bathroom and sees a sinister light through the windows. It overlooks and the house surrounded by flames. All three run away, help arrives. But if he hadn’t woken up, what tragedy would it have been? Natalia Onipko worries. When the firefighters arrive, they have no doubts: arson, because the materials that caught fire were soaked in flammable liquid, or they would never have caught fire. The three workers are safe. The damage to the structure is only 200 thousand hryvnia, that is tens of thousands of euros: nothing to prevent us from respecting our timetable, according to which we will reopen in December. But low morale. We cannot rule out that it will happen again. These children and their families already have very hard lives. its hard to accept that they should also receive this further hostility.
April 3, 2021 (change April 3, 2021 | 16:35)