I am a multi-child mother — three children, to be exact. Before the events of 2014, we lived in Donetsk. I was on maternity leave. The war came unexpectedly. We used to think that it would pass, probably. But it didn't.
We were in our hometown, in our house, when the shooting started. We spent most of the time at home or on the playground. The children went to kindergarten. We didn't go to the center as we lived on the outskirts. And the main events were unfolding in the center.
The first time we saw the barricades and what is happening in the center of Donetsk live was in April 2014. We were just passing by. The first thing I was afraid for were my children..
The first attacks reached us on the street. We went for a walk with the children. It is impossible to express what was happening. We feared for the children, for their health, for their lives.
We left Donetsk in the summer of 2014. First, we came to Kyiv. We were kindly invited by a good friend. We stayed at her house for almost three months, almost all summer. Then we arrived in Mariupol. We still had hope that peace would come soon, that everything would get better. So we came closer.
When we settled in Mariupol. It was difficult even to rent an apartment, because we have three small children and many do not want to lease an apartment out to large families. However, many people met our needs – kindergartens, schools, and clinics.
Since 2014, when we moved from Kyiv, we have been supported by the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation. They helped with food packages, gave out things, clothes. Social services also helped us out. We really appreciate this.
We hope that everything will get better, after all. We will return to our hometown. That is what we are hoping for. I wish Ukraine would gain peace, It would remain whole, undivided. I wish we all lived together, and everything returned to the way it was once before.