Tamara Maksimovna Inzhutova was born in 1951 in Luhansk. Almost all her life she spent in her native city with her wonderful and strong family. She was a guardian angel of her household. Tamara Maksimovna and her husband Vitaly Oleksiyevich brought up, raised and gave a good education to their daughter. The family’ has always followed the motto “Together we can do everything: we should just work hard and not to be lazy.”
For more than 40 years Tamara Maksimovna worked as an engineer for a large enterprise in Luhansk. Not only she knew almost every employee – people always turned to her to have a small talk and to consult on professional topics. Apart from strong mathematical mindset, she was also entrusted with a unique gift of empathy. All these years Tamara Maksimovna supported the into labor movement to protect the rights of workers at the enterprise.
When raising a child, Tamara Maksimovna mastered her tailoring skills. She wanted to sew interesting clothes for her daughter and share these skills with her.
In 2014, the family of elderly persons and their daughter had to urgently leave their home city, as staying there became unsafe. A long before, Tamara Maksimovna heard about a beautiful small town Irpin near Kyiv. Knowing no one there, but hearing Irpin is a cozy and green place, Tamara Maksimovna and her husband displaced there. They thought they were leaving Luhansk for a few weeks or a few months maximum. Thus they took only their documents and summer clothes and basic items. As it turned out later it was not the case. Unfortunately, the family eventually had to split: their daughter found a job in another city.
At first, Ms. Inzhutova felt embarrassed to tell her neighbors that she is an internally displaced person. She had no friends. All her social life left in her native Luhansk. Tamara Maksimovna missed her friends and colleagues and often cried. Once a neighbor invited her for a meeting with IDPs hosted by a local CSO “Good Deeds Foundation”. And this was an icebreaker. Finally, Tamara Maksimovna and her husband felt themselves involved and needed. At first, IDP families met in parks and then in libraries. In December 2015, UNHCR supported creation of a special community center for IDPs. This marked an important step in life of Mrs. Inzhutova in Irpin.
Tamara Maksimovna became an active volunteer in the new center, helping to organize classes and summer events for children. She found her new culinary talent and started cooking at summer events. In autumn and winter, Mrs. Inzhutova jointly with other elderly IDP women introduced sewing classes. The “Good Deeds Foundation” received a donation from volunteers for purchasing sewing machines. Then people began bringing fabrics and materials. This allowed sewing bags and making New Year’s toys and head accessories. Elderly women sold their products. The money they gained were used for purchasing paints and albums for children’s drawing classes at the community center. Things after displacement were looking up.
2020 year brought new challenges to the family of Ms. Inzhutova. During the pandemic, she felt her family was thrown out from the fragile new world that they built so diligently in host community. The family found itself in complete isolation, without communication in person and any opportunity of active life. They started losing a feeling IDP children and other elderly persons need them. Before Tamara Maksimovna was very active. She was that person who hosted in IDP community centre UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Helena Christensen in 2017, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian (RC/HC), Ms. Osnat Lubrani and UNHCR Representative in Ukraine Mr. Pablo Mateu. Moreover, a new misfortune gave a knock on the door. This was a spouse’s stroke and his cancer.
Lockdown of March 2020 acutely affected elderly, especially IDPs. Elderly IDPs were excluded from communication. They heard about the new virus on TV. This made them scared to go outside. Many were afraid to throw the litter collecting it on balconies. But the worst thing was to be in isolation and vacuum alone. In addition, in early lockdown there was a catastrophic shortage of masks and disinfectants. Limited available options were costly. Elderly displaced people and vulnerable families could not afford buying single-use masks. To help such people, Tamara Maksimovna and other elderly IDPs from the community centre started sewing creative masks for children and adults. Volunteers brought fabrics, and she used them for sewing and distributing masks to those in need.
Volunteers of the community centre started a food distribution program for the elderly to support them in difficult times and help them survive during the lockdown, while Tamara Maksimovna gave them masks. At the same time, she diligently took care of her spouse, who cannot not walk and spoke with difficulties. They are family supporting and caring of each other.
Tamara Maksimovna has many dreams. She dreams that COVID-19 pandemic soon would be over as the virus would be jugulated. IDP community centre would be full of children’s voices and hearty talks of the elderly. She dreams that life will bring new acquaintances. Maybe, one day she meets UN High Commissioner for Refugees or UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors. And she hopes that her family will live together. On seventh year of displacement, importance of durable solutions for IDPs and their successful integration is vital.