The village of Moshchun in Ukraine was at the center of the fighting when Russia launched its offensive in February. It was there, just 30 kilometers from Kiev, that Ukrainian forces stopped the advance of the Russian army towards the capital. But 85% of the village was destroyed. Now the community wants to rebuild.
Ukrainian troops stopped the Russians in this village, avoiding a bloody attack on the capital, Kiev.
For about a week, the village of Moshchun was under the control of Russian forces. Before leaving, the Russian forces burned the village.
Evacuated shortly before the arrival of the Russians, most of the inhabitants survived. When they returned everything they had had turned to ashes. Now, local activists and businessmen have created a charity project to rebuild the village.
Anna Kolosovska's family, like hundreds of others, lost everything.
Her 3-year-old granddaughter, Ira, remembers the rocket attack. Playing on the ruins of the house, she repeats her mother's words.
"I'm not afraid," she says.
Their neighbor, Liubov Topol, lost not only her house, but also her only son, one of the leaders of the reserve Territorial Defense Forces in Moshchun.
"I'm not myself anymore. The boy is in front of my eyes," she says.
Ms. Liubov is the first to receive a temporary home within the "Dream of Ukraine" charity initiative. This will be her home for the next two years.
Mr. Vitaly Kashchenko, one of the founders of the initiative, says that the first step is to provide temporary homes to all citizens of Moshchun who lost their homes by mid-September. By the end of next year, he plans to rebuild the village as a whole.
"In the first phase, we have to offer people a place for the winter. Then we have to give them a place for a dignified life and build a new village. Our goal is to rebuild Moshchun and then all of Ukraine," says Mr. Kashchenko.
The Rotary Club "Kiev International" is behind the reconstruction effort and is encouraging the international community to join the initiative.
"From all over the world we collected over 15 million dollars to help Ukraine. We hope that after it is rebuilt, it will be called the Rotary Village", says Mr. Serhiy Zavadski from the Rotary Club.
The residents of Moshchun are showing resilience. The Russian army destroyed their homes, but could not destroy their courage, unity or love for their village./VOA