When Madina was 4 years old her parents died. Together with her younger bother they were left alone in the street and later taken home by their grandmother. Since that day Madina saw violence and felt pain too often. She always heard her grandmother saying . You are an orphan and you don’t deserve anything. Her parents’ pictures are hidden. I lived in a hell.
Madina was married twice, both times abused and betrayed. She left village to Makhachkala to study medicine and work. When she was pregnant with Somaya her husband found another woman and wanted Madina to abort. She left again and one day found herself sitting on a cold bench in a park pregnant and with nowhere to go. Through social media she found Warm House on the Hill - her shelter.
Many women give up but not Madina. She spent in the shelter three months, gave birth and stayed to help other women. I feel this is what I want to do, to move forward, to help other women.
Madina, you can do better. Don’t give up. Help others.
M. got married when she was 16, she is 26 now and has three kids. The first morning of the marriage, her husband slapped her because she didn’t prepare a breakfast for the guests. She didn’t have mother to explain her these rules.
I grew up without parents and saw a lot of violence in my childhood, I though I found everything I missed in him. That’s a shame to say but I fell in love.
He made me do many humiliating things, didn’t let kids go to kindergarten, I didn’t ask for much but my life just turned into hell. He did whatever gave him a kick.
M. left her husband and brought her kids to the shelter.
You can ask why I stayed so long. It was a shame to talk about my relationship to anyone, I didn’t want people to know about it.
One of the main rules of the shelter is to turn off your phone and don’t tell anyone the location.
One night M’s husband broke into the flat, he took two of his kids and left. The door was left broken, women were scared and kids crying.
Kirill wakes up in screams every night fearing that strangers will break in again.
M. wanted to forget her past and finally live for herself. My kids will become my friends, I don’t need anyone else. She was going to be sent to another city to be completely isolated from her past. She was ready to take off her hijab.
I came back to Makhachkala in two months hoping to hear that M. was already far away. In the shelter they found a way to bring back the kids and M. was getting ready to travel.
M. left back to her husband. Without telling Wayne she packed her belongings, dressed her kids in the best clothes and left.
In a couple of weeks she sent a message saying she couldn’t anymore and wanted to kill herself.
Please don’t leave.
Z. lost her parents when she was 12 years old.
She was married, working and had two sons. But then her husband started to have problems with drugs. They have been through a lot of hard moments together. Z. is a single mother now.
I think that women who are alone they have nobody to rely on and they achieve more than others.
Recently Z. was diagnosed with a bone disease and now waiting for a surgery. Going to work became impossible and she couldn’t pay rent anymore. She needed someone to look after her boys while she is was hospital. That’s how Z. found the shelter.
I feel like a balloon right now in the air. It is hard when you can’t work and support your kids because you are ill.
My mother been through hard times - she married against her parents will but then father was bullying both of us.
We lived in Voronezh and I went to boarding school. It was bullying again. Shaving hair, burning papers between toes, I was getting panic attacks. One day something changed inside me. I was always very sweet but then I started to revenge, I found everyone who touched me. Thats how my character started to appear.
When Farida was 12,5 she was raped by a family friend, mother took her to gynaecologist and they made a surgery to restore virginity.
When Farida was 15 she met her future husband A. She told him about the rape because he was the closest friend for her. Since that day he started to beat her. With a cast iron until I am knocked out full of blood.
I couldn’t explain to myself why I was with him but I thought I loved him but it was a dependance.
Farida finally decided to divorce. She realised her loss and got depressed. They met again and she got pregnant. She made her abort. It was another depression.
When my mother got sick, it was very hard, I started to take pills to work more hours and pay for mother’s hospital. And nothing helped, my mum died in 2016. I was destroyed. Everything was messed up so much.
Now Farida works in the shelter, her friend helped her to overcome everything and they are raising a little boy together.