Stories that you confided to us

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Stories that you confided to us

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Halyna Vitaliivna Oliinyk

"The war broke all our plans"

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I would like to tell you a story of my life. Someone will find it interesting. Someone will find it boring. But this is my life — my joy and my pain. I was born on 15 November  1963 in Makiivka, Donetsk Oblast. This is a very beautiful city. It is a city of miners and steelworkers.

I became an orphan early. My mother died when I was seven. This was followed by another loss – my loving and beloved father not only abandoned and forgot about me, but also deprived me of my usual and native home.

My grandmother (my mother's mother) didn't leave me. I don't want to describe all the 'charms' of orphan life. She took care of me as best as she could. Thanks to her, I finished school.

Finishing Year 8, I entered a medical school in the city of Beryslav, Kherson Oblast. After graduation, I worked in a hospital in Kherson  for a year. Then I returned to Makiivka.

Back to Makiivkaі

I worked as a child care nurse. I made friends there. One evening I met my future husband. We didn't date for long, but we have lived together for 34 years. We got married three months after we met.

My grandmother didn't like my fiancé, and his family didn't like me very much. By and large, no one needed us. My grandmother lived with my older sister, and my husband's parents had a younger son whom they loved very much.

Our first child was born. Then we had the second and third child. My husband wanted to return to the army (he did military service on the border. He really like it there. So I took our three children and went to him. The eldest son was three and a half years old, the daughter was two years old, and the youngest son was eight months old. When the contract expired, we returned home.

We lost our daughter

We lived a normal life – mum and dad worked, and the children studied. The children grew up and matured. At some point, we lost our daughter. She got involved with bad company and left home at 17.

We tried to keep track of her, but we couldn't get her back. Daughter said that we hindered her life, because we did not allow her to drink alcohol, smoke and have fun. She thought we only forced her to study.

Then she was involved in a fight. Someone received a knife wound in the apartment where she lived. She was taken to the police station. She was a witness in the case. When she was released, she came home. Of course, we took her back, although the sons were not very excited about it.

Birth of the Angel

A month later, it turned out that the daughter was pregnant. She said she was going to keep the baby. We supported her decision. She behaved well throughout the pregnancy. And on 20 February 2004, a sweetheart was born. The girl was born healthy. She was very active and energetic.

When she was seven and a half months old, she broke her leg. I wasn't at home, and I don't know exactly how it happened. A year and a half later, she had the second fracture of the other leg. The fractures healed very quickly, and the baby ran again. She just could not walk gently.

She started walking, talking, and learning poetry very early. Her thinking was developing very well. And then, like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, she had the third fracture. It was incorrectly fixated, and the bone did not heal correctly.

We went to Donetsk Regional Traumatology Department. The child was diagnosed with brittle bone syndrome. Doctors knew little about this disease. Then our "dark time" began. Sashenka began to break like a porcelain doll.

She had two fractures a year

I was forced to retire on superannuation. I had to leave my favourite job, because my daughter got married and was pregnant with her second child. Sashulka needed help. She had two or three fractures a year. Sometimes two legs at the same time. Her hips deformed severely.

I advised all the orthopedists in Donetsk Oblast. Some doctors were dazed and confused, others advised to go abroad. We began to give up. However, when we looked at Sashulka, at her smile, we felt optimistic again.

Sasha's mother left us

When Sashenka was four years old, we were betrayedю While Sasha and I went to see an endocrinologist, her mother took her youngest son and left home. She didn't answer her phone, and then she changed her phone number.

When Sasha went started Year 2, I had to file a lawsuit to revoke parental rights and establish custody of my granddaughter. I needed the documents confirming why I was responsible for her and taking care of her.

The trial lasted almost a year. They tried to bring Sasha back to her mother, but she didn't have time for her. So the court decided in my favour. I didn't want to take the baby away from the mother, but I needed official documents.

In search of spiritual power

Then we were asked to join an organization for the disabled. I thought whether we should do this for a long time. I didn't want Sasha to be a disabled child. Then I went to a Disabled Person'S Day event and saw the spiritual power of children with special needs and their parents. We joined this organization.

After our forced seclusion, Sasha did not immediately make contact with strangers. But gradually her heart melted. She began to study with other children without my constant presence. She stayed with mentors. She started doing arts and crafts.

Since this organization was regional, there was a question of creating a city organization for the disabled came up. For the sake of Sasha's future, I agreed to take change of this organization. Sasha was the unofficial director, and I was her assistant. Our organization was the only one in the city helping disabled children. The members of the organization participated in city and regional competitions. They took winning places.

First victories in spite of health

Sasha has many competition certificates. She was often number one in city and regional competitions. She took part in the regional contest "Miss Cinderella-2012". On the eve of the contest, Sasha broke her leg, but she did not refuse to participate. She said that she couldn't fail our "Dzhereltse". She won the Cinderella Crown and the Audience Choice Award.

 In 2013, Sasha participated in the competition "Crystal Heart", which was held by the head of the region. She won in the category "Big Deed of a Little Person".

Sashenka became very outgiving. The children did not go to classes, but to "Visit Sasha". The organization grew, won grants, and made plans for the future…

All our plans were broken by the war

All plans were broken by the events that occurred at the end of 2013. In 2014, the war came to us. A real, incomprehensible and terrifying war. We could hear shooting sounds. We had no money. It was scary outside and scary at home.

My husband was offered a job in Poltava Oblast. He didn't want to go (he didn't want to leave Sashulka and me alone), but there was no way out. Our savings were running out. He had to leave, and we were left on our own.

I hid Sasha in the basement

Intense armed hostilities broke out not far from us. Mines fell both on our street and on surrounding streets. People got killed. Sasha hid in the basement, and she came up from time to time.

We often spent nights in the basement without light. We weren't going anywhere. There was no reason to do it. We had no place to go to. We felt sorry to leave the house.

My youngest son was sent to Kryvyi Rih on a business trip before the terrible events. He managed to transfer some money to us and invited us to his house.

I decided to leave for the child's sake. Leaving everything behind, I took the most necessary things (documents, some clothes and bed linen) and the most precious thing – my girl. We went for a week until the situation stabilized. However, we have been living here for four years already.

The neighbors and some people from school brought us everything they could

Kryvyi Rih was not a very friendly place for us. Having learned that we came from the east, people did not want to give us an apartment for rent. Besides, we needed the first floor at a cheaper price. We spent more than a week living with our son in the same room that the company rented to him. We got lucky, after all. We found a place to live.

Then we sent Sasha to school. We were very lucky to have good neighbours and school mates. The apartment we rented was empty. The neighbors found out about us and brought us everything they could.

They gave us a writing table for Sasha, a blanket, a pillow, a pot, and other things. Dishes and toys were brought from school.

New school for Sasha

We adjusted to new school life. Sasha continued to study well and participate in school competitions. She excelled in all six classes and became a regional scholar.

We organised our lived slow and steady and made new friends. We joined local organizations for disabled people. Sasha had several exhibitions in the city, and now her works are exhibited in libraries and museums in Kyiv.

Sasha started practicing dancing. She is still in a wheelchair, but we hope that she will soon be able to stand on her feet. The first leg surgery was performed on 21 September 2017.

The operations would have been in vain without the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation

During the operation, the hip deformity was eliminated, and growing implants were inserted into the hips and lower leg of the left leg. We have been preparing for the operation for a whole year.

But all our efforts would have been in vain if the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation had not helped us. The implants that were inserted in Sasha's leg are very expensive. No matter how much money I raised, I wouldn't have collected that amount required. Plus,  time is running out.

So the granddaughter got a chance to live a full life

The Foundation's employees, led by Rinat Leonidovich, do a very noble and difficult job. So many people were saved from starvation, and so many people were given a chance to live!

Once again, many thanks to the Foundation and personally to Rinat Leonidovich for giving my granddaughter a chance to become a full-fledged member of our society. If only there were more people like Rinat Leonidovich! Thank you very much! God bless you and your family.

Makiivka Text Civilian's stories women children moving families with two or more children internally displaced persons
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