Unique Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation has collected more than 2,000 accounts of Donbass civilians told from the first person. They tell the stories about the fates of people whose lives the armed conflict in the east forever divided into “before” and “after”. Teacher Maryna Marchenko from Avdiivka had to witness the death of people in the yard of a high-rise apartment building where she lived with her husband. The woman told her story to the Museum of Civilian Voices.
‘On 10 November 2014, people queued in the yard in order to get some drinking water. My husband was standing in the same queue. At that time, shells began to fly overhead. First, they hit the building, then the yard, and an abandoned ground where there was a crowd of people. There were many wounded and killed. I rushed to the rescue a few minutes later and was shocked by what I saw. The site looked like a mass grave,’ Marchenko recalls.
Fortunately, Maryna’s husband survived, although he needed long-term treatment afterwards. An artist from Australia expressed the pain of that tragic experience in his mural. He painted a portrait of the woman on the wall of her house damaged by bombing and shelling.
‘Our house is the one most damaged by shelling in Avdiivka. Locals call it “painted” because of its colourful, motley facade,’ says Maryna.
The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation plans to collect 100,000 stories in its Museum of Civilian Voices by 2025. The Foundation recounts and will continue to recount the fates of Donbass civilians to as many people around the world as possible.
‘The Museum of Civilian Voices is an unprecedented documentary project. Its purpose is to tell the whole world about the experiences civilians in Donbass lived through. It is a source of true stories told from the first person, by own voices of those who went through the horrors of the armed conflict. It is the largest collection of Civilian Stories in Ukraine. It is important to preserve each of them so that this never happens again, for a better future,’ said Iryna Blazhan, Director of Projects and Programs at the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation.
If you are a resident of Donbass, tell your story to the world! To do this, please follow the link https://civilvoicesmuseum.org/my-story and fill out a small questionnaire. You can also call the hotline 0800509001 and ask for psychological assistance. It is provided by specialists who have been trained in the war trauma course.