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Stories that you confided to us

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The Kapitonenkos

"Mum, am I not going to have a birthday?"

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Mother Tamara Kapitonenko:

Mum, am I not going to have a birthday?

"I worked in construction before the war. The war started. They were shooting. We did not receive  child benefits and pensions any more. At first, we deceived the children that someone was beating carpets. Then, when things were getting  worse, we couldn't deceive them any longer.

When I gave birth to Sonya, there was a curfew. I went into labour at 03:20, and the curfew continued until 06:00. When we arrived at the checkpoint, I was not allowed to go to the hospital. But when the big contractions started, they already realized that I was really in labour, and I was brought to the hospital. I gave birth very quickly. Doctors said, "The war helped you." I was scared, because I went to labour, and the shelling started.

Mum, am I not going to have a birthday?

Daughter Ania:

"14 February 2015 was the day I was born.

Mum, am I not going to have a birthday?


"On 14 February she woke up and said, "Mum, will I not have a birthday party? Godmother won't come to see me, either?" She was four years old. We went and bought her a cake. Naturally, no one came. Suddenly the shelling started.

The chandelier began to shake. and we ran to the basement. She asked, "Mum, isn't anyone coming to see me?" We called the neighbors. Everyone called and said, "Come and congratulate Ania on her birthday. Let's just gather and celebrate it." And then the neighbor Valik came in and said, "Drop everything and grab the kids. They ran to the basements to hide." We ran to the basement. We sat there for six hours. The shelling didn't stop. The child had to celebrate the birthday in such conditions.

Once in the spring, there was also an attack. I took the children swimming earlier. Ania managed to have a bath, but Sonya did not. Water was running from the tap when the shelling began. And I saw them naked, just like they were... It was spring, and it was cold. I ran and managed to take off my clothes from the hanger. And that's all I had time to wrap up… And so we sat until three o'clock in the morning.

Mum, am I not going to have a birthday?

After that, I couldn't turn on the bathroom faucet for a long time. It seemed to me that shelling began. I put either a sponge or a washcloth under the tap so that the water wouldn't beat against the tub, so that I wouldn't hear it. After that, I decided that I should go to a psychologist...

There was nowhere to go. If I had a husband, maybe it would be easier somehow. I am alone. How is that? Where should I have gone to? We have no jobs here. And there was nowhere to go. And no one really needs you with no money and two kids.

I make bows and sell various hairpins. I make bows and sell them. My girls wear them. They are really into fashion.

Mum, am I not going to have a birthday?

When quoting a story, a reference to the source – the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation – is mandatory, as follows:

The Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation

Rinat Akhmetov Foundation Civilian Voices Museum
Pionerske 2015 Video Civilian's stories women children 2015 psychological injury shelling safety and life support families with two or more children
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