Assistance in covering necessary expenses for the Rybakov family who left Belarus because of repressions

  • Story

My husband and I are group 3 disabled. I have cerebral palsy from birth, and my husband has a 3-4 degree sensorineural hearing loss — he became deaf in one ear when he was a teenager, and at the age of 40, after an acute respiratory infection, his hearing dropped even more. We have three children: a son, 18 years old, and two daughters, 14 and 12 years old.

We decided to leave Belarus in 2020, after we participated in peaceful protests and faced repression.

We lived on one of the central streets of Brest. I worked in the library, while my husband worked in public utility organizations and periodically went to Poland to earn money. Even before the elections the whole department of the library where I worked refused to put signatures in favor of Lukashenka's nomination as a presidential candidate. The bosses took it as a revolt and started to transfer us to other departments to break up the friendly team. Omitting details, I will say that I quit my job and went to another library.

When the protests started, we also took part in them. We hung a bchb flag on the balcony, which our daughter sewed, went out on the balcony and greeted the columns of people who were passing along our street. When OMON began to disperse and detain people with brutality, we were shocked. One night I witnessed a young guy being thrown off his bicycle and started beating him, leaving a bloody mark on the tiles, on which people later brought flowers. We were happy when we found out that the guy was alive.

One day, KGB officers came to my workplace. They took my phone and, without even letting me go to the toilet, took me home to conduct a search. They told me that I was a suspect under the article “treason against the motherland” because they had information about my participation in the Rabochy Rukh movement. It even made me laugh a little — how could a simple librarian betray the motherland?

After turning the whole apartment upside down, the law enforcers took me for interrogation. On the way they questioned me about my participation in rallies and “extremist” organizations. I didn't know what they had against me, so I answered that I hadn't participated anywhere.

In the office on Lenin Street in Brest, another KGB officer continued the interrogation and studied my phone. I was very afraid for my children. Especially since there were threats that they could be taken away from me and placed in an orphanage. It went on for quite a long time. I was asked the same questions in different versions, and then suddenly they suddenly let me go… But it was said that I would be monitored and if I was caught again, I would be put in jail. After this incident, I became very much afraid of any doorbell ringing, as well as calls to the director of the institution where I worked.

After February 24, 2022, the work environment became even more unbearable. Any conversation behind closed doors about the war in Ukraine quickly became known to the director — someone snitched. I was repeatedly “reminded” that I had three children, and employees with oppositional views should not be in the school.

In 2023, an inspection came to our school. The books on the shelf on the history of Belarus from 1990-2000 with the image of “Pagoni” and the Bchb flag infuriated the inspectors from Minsk and the school director. Although I didn't bring these books there (they were officially received in due time), I was forced to write off these books retroactively. Nobody was interested in my opinion on this matter. The director said to write off all historical literature of the 90s. Then they started sending us various lists of “extremist” literature that we had to confiscate.

It was very hard for me to be in such an atmosphere, and I could not and did not want to take part in this barbarism. My heart was breaking. So we decided to leave.

We also took with us some cats that we had once picked up on the street. We realized that it would be very difficult to settle down in a new place with such baggage, but our conscience did not allow us to throw our pets on the street or put them to sleep.

We did find rented accommodation. But the problem is that it is not easy to find a job for two people with disabilities. Now we are dealing with this issue and take on all part-time jobs. We hope that when we can find a job and get our first paychecks, it will be easier.

For now, we are asking for your help in paying rent and covering the most necessary expenses that come with moving.

Thank you very much!

How much is needed?


Payment of rent for May and June — €1600
Buying necessary medicines for me and my husband — €400
Payment of everyday expenses — food, simple clothes, communication and transportation — for 2 months — €2000

The collection is over. Сollected:
€ 4 343
The collection is over. Сollected: € 4 343