days of resistance
since full-scale invasion
+38 (050) 615-28-86
9 Poltavskiy shlyah Str, Kharkiv

We are happy now

From the light hand of Serhiy Soshin, a post was read about two Labrador grandmothers, whom no one wanted to take from the dog shelter. In the morning they already hung up the phone, and at 11 they took us to the "Big Family".
Shayna and Angie are super-grandmothers, gentle, friendly, they don't touch our ducks and chickens, they flatter the residents.
We are absolutely happy, because our idea is the sounds, smells and touch of childhood.
З легкої руки Сергія Сошина прочитали пост про двох бабусь-лабрадорів, яких ніхто не хтів брати з собачого притулку. Зранку вже обривали телефон, а об 11 везли до нас в «Велику родину».
Шейна і Енджі - супер-бабусі лагідні, привітні, качок і курей наших не чіпають, до мешканців ластяться.
Ми абсолютно щасливі, бо наша ідея - це звуки, запахи дотики дитинства.
photo 2024 06 24 08 20 49 photo 2024 06 24 08 20 54
photo 2024 06 24 08 20 58 Screenshot 1
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Interview, with explosions

One morning a few days ago, Christian the nurse and I went to the room shared by Katya, Valya and Vera, so that Vera, who is bedridden, could do arm-strengthening exercises.

Vera, aged 83, is from the town of Svatove in Luhansk oblast, which is now under occupation. Katya, who is almost 90, was born in Russia to Ukrainian parents who had gone to build a new town in the rural Altai province of Russia. I started recording audio, intending to conduct a reasonably focused interview.

However, it turned out, the environment was not condusive to this. Instead, we had a classic Kharkiv experience. The audio files are live snippets: play all five where they appear in the text.

Vera squeezes a ball to strengthen her fingers.


Me: What happened when the Russians attacked in February 2022?

Vera: Some people ran to the Russian side, some to the Ukrainian side. They didn’t know where they were running to, they were so scared. Everything was burning, children were crying, people were shouting, ‘Save me! Save me!’ But there was no one to save them. My son and granddaughter, they ran away in fear. Svatove was taken by Russia. And now I don’t know where anyone is. I found my granddaughter. She’s here in Kharkiv… But the town is destroyed.


Terrifying! Why do they do it? In Ukraine, Russia, America,, no one called anyone names, in general things were friendly. In the Soviet Union we had a very good life. But now it’s scary. I live, but I don't want to live. I don't want to live! It's very scary. It's very painful.

[In Svatove] the mines exploded with such force. You could see this person killed, that person wounded… My whole family lived there. My granddaughters were teachers, my son worked on the railway and his wife was a teacher too, and ran the household


We kept cows and pigs, which all had to be let out [after the invasion]. During winter they ran everywhere and had nothing to eat. Most of the cattle disappeared in the winter.

People were scattered. There are refugees in Kharkiv, where there are two, three, four people in a room. People from our village, and the surrounding villages in Kharkiv oblast. A lot have gone to Poland, Germany, and elsewhere.

We all lived together there. Now we’re all in different places, and people have become enemies. The enemies write to us, ‘I’m alive, I’m in Svatove.’ And you’re over there, you’re not our people. Some have found places to live, others haven’t. [During the invasion] they just ran in whichever direction wasn’t burning, Ukraine or Russia—


Katya: We go to sleep not knowing if we’ll wake up or not. [She starts to cry.] Where is there to run? Where is there to run, where is there to run?! Nowhere. You come up against a wall.

Me: Aside to Christian: I’ll look on Telegram for news… Ah. From the last few minutes: one message says, ‘There was an explosion,’ then the next one says, ‘Another rocket is coming,’ then ‘An explosion, and the next one says ‘Another rocket is coming. Please subscribe to our channel.’

Vera: We are not happy with Putin. We would like peace. To not be killed or shot at. For our children to not run away. To not be here.

Me: Where are your neighbours now?

Vera: I’m in touch with people from my village. Sometimes we talk on the phone… Some are in Ukraine, some in Russia. Relatives are at odds with each other because you live there, and I live there. But people didn't want to go there. They were running from fear. And now they shout ‘you are our enemy’, and we shout ‘you are our enemy!’.

 Katya: One time there was an attack, and people were wounded in Old Saltivka. There was a tram, a trolleybus all destroyed, and wounded people, and my son phoned me. There was an electricity blackout, and I couldn’t get through. He got ready, gathered his documents, but without knowing where to go. I said, Kolya, don’t leave the house! Because it’s frightening! Where is there to run? I said, stand near the wall. Don’t run anywhere!’

A rocket fell in their yard, made a crater. The glass in the windows shook and went flying, it was terrible. Their child was crying, it was a disaster. And there is no news from my daughter. I can’t reach her. She lives on the other side of the Russian border. She bought a house there. And for three months, she hasn’t answered my calls and she can’t call me. Her neighbour tried to drive there in his car, and they didn’t let him in. If they had let him, he would have stayed, but they didn’t.

Young people are caught and taken away [i.e. forcibly conscripted]. Why are you taking them away? Why are you destroying them? I don't know what will happen.


Katya on her bed

Vera: No one wants to go to war.

Me: Aside to Christian: Telegram says more rockets are coming, wonderful…

Katya: They smashed my house. They smashed my dacha. I don't know where to go, I don't know. Do you know about the last war? 1941 to 1945. We were hungry, we were starving. But now people say, are you going to live or not? They won’t let you live.

Vera: I don’t want to live. [She cries.] They are killing people. Children are running away. Into cellars. Into corners.

Katya: It’s hungry down there, isn’t it, Vera? You sit in the cellar and you’re hungry! It’s damp there, the roof drips. Where is there to sit? There’s no water, no light. No gas.

Vera: Putin is wrong. Why do young people go to war? They don’t want to go.

Katya: What does a mother raise a child for now? So he can kill her?

I went out to the hall to check on a lady who was sheltering there from the attack.

And there we have it, a particularly lively but not exceptional morning in an old people’s shelter in Kharkiv. Imagine being in your home and either having this happen, or being braced for it to happen, all the time. And things are better now than they were in the spring of 2022 when the Russians were within artillery range, meaning constant bombardment that trashed large parts of the city completely. That could happen again, if the invaders get any closer than they are now.

The Russians are able to launch rockets at Kharkiv with impunity. They are fired from the city of Belgorod, just over the border, and only take about a minute to reach us. Ukraine has weapons that are capable of destroying the launch sites/planes, but they were donated by the US, and the US refuses to allow Ukraine to use them to strike targets within Russia. In the last few days here, Russia has wiped out a hypermarket full of shoppers, a public park, one of the country’s largest printworks, and a number of apartment blocks.

They are destroying Kharkiv building by building, at their leisure, and Western countries are allowing it.


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Закупівля підйомнику для людей з інвалідністю

As part of cooperation with Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, we need to buy and install four inclined lifts for people with disabilities:
  • Lifting length: up to 4000 mm
  • Platform length: 1000 mm
  • Platform width: 800 mm
  • Load capacity: 150 kg
Please send proposals to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by April 30.
У рамках співробітництва з Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation маємо необхідність купити і встановити чотири похилих підйомників для людей з інвалідністю:
  • Довжина підйому: до 4000 мм
  • Довжина платформи: 1000 мм
  • Ширина платформи: 800 мм
  • Вантажопідйомність: 150 кг
Просимо надіслати пропозиції на адресу through.the.war.ua@gmail.com до 30 квітня.
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