Among the stories of people from the Caritas-Spes Vinnytsia social dormitory, there are those that leave you speechless. Svitlana and her young son Iliusha had a very difficult journey from Rubizhne to Vinnytsia. On March 23, a projectile hit Svitlana's house, and the girl covered her child with herself, taking on many fragments from the window. After one of the interviews, a plastic surgeon from Kyiv heard about the family and offered his help. The woman has already undergone a number of surgeries restoring her face.
Svitlana said that two fragments of glass were removed from her lip and cheek, but the removal of two more is still ahead. Last week, her son Iliusha had a birthday, and for the first time in 5 months, the girl heard the voice of her parents on the phone, who remained in the village of Novovodiane, Luhansk region. Svitlana describes the events of March 23 in Rubizhne as follows:
"My son, my boyfriend and I lived in Rubizhne. On March 3, a shell hit our house, and I covered my son with myself. I heard a rocket flying, but I didn't have time to run out of the apartment. We were lucky not to have hidden in the basement, because it was the first to collapse. I had a feeling that we shouldn't go there. My boyfriend then went to get drinking water, because since the beginning of March we have had no electricity, heating and water. The last time I heard the voice of my parents was on March 8, and there was no contact since then.
On the same day, our military evacuated us to Lysychansk, and in two days our evacuation to Western Ukraine started. We were supported by the volunteers. They transferred us to different buses and "diesels". We intended to get to my boyfriend's relatives in Lodyzhyn. There, I finally had my stitches removed and was introduced to Yevhen (the director of Caritas-Spes Vinnytsia, ed.). That's how we got to Vinnytsia. Yevhen picked us up at the train station in Vinnytsia, where we arrived, and as it turned out, no one was waiting for us. Those to whom we were going simply did not come for us. But there was Yevhen.
Here, in the social dormitory, we were given a separate room with all the conditions for living. Yevhen often brings humanitarian aid, but it is very difficult for me without finances. Being a single mother and a low-income person, I have not received any payments for half a year. We often go for a walk with Iliusha, but it is scary during air-raid sirens. If we meet someone, my son starts to tell them how I covered him with myself during the explosion. It stays in his mind and now he hides behind me whenever there are air-raid sirens. He goes with me to Kyiv when I have my surgeries, and doctors entertain him."
Yevhen Markevych, director of Caritas-Spes Vinnytsia, says that Svitlana's story is a real face of war. This is the situation when a loving mother who was not guilty of anything suffered during the war. According to him, no one expected such kindness from the people who learned about Svitlana's case, even she.
"We met Svitlana and Iliusha at the end of April. Vinnytsia volunteers called me and said that a girl and a child needed shelter", Yevhen said.
In May, Polish journalists from the Strimeo TV channel came to Vinnytsia to film a story about volunteer assistance in the city. When filming about the work of our Mission in Vinnytsia, in particular about our social dormitory, they met Svitlana. With the help of an interpreter, the girl told them her story. The interpreter Oleksandr Nahornyi was from Kyiv, and he was very impressed. A month later, he called me and informed that a surgeon, a friend of his, Oleksandr Bebykh, from the Cosmetic Surgery Clinic is ready to perform pro bono surgeries on Svitlana. I became responsible for coordinating mother and son to Kyiv and back."
According to Yevhen, Svitlana's face has changed significantly due to the treatment. This turned out to be essential for the woman, because at first she avoided mass meetings of the dormitory residents. Now Svitlana is gradually getting used to her new appearance, she walks a lot with her little son, and most importantly, she smiles more often. Since Iliusha is still very small, he endured the terrible events of the bombing rather easily. However, when the child meets someone with his mother, he tells about the "boom", and how he ran to his mother.