Oksana Mamoshyna, volunteer and wife of a veteran who lost his vision: “Our guys are normal healthy people, just blind”

Oksana Mamoshyna, volunteer and wife of a veteran who lost his vision: “Our guys are normal healthy people, just blind”
29 Листопада 2023
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Our heroine was born and lived in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, for over 40 years. Since 2014, Oksana’s hometown has been just 30 kilometers from the front line, and many of her friends and relatives have joined the armed forces. Since then, the war has not let this woman go and kept her engaged. She is actively helping the military and is interested in military topics.

So, when her children helped her register on Facebook, she started looking for opportunities to communicate with the military and volunteers.

That’s how she joined the then-famous group “The ATO’s [Anti-terrorist operation] New Meetings.”

“In this group, in 2016, I met Oleg, who was fighting in Marianka. At first, we just communicated. Later he offered to meet as soon as he was released from his position. I was so afraid of that meeting – I was not sure of his honesty.

When he told me that he hadn’t been released again, I breathed a sigh of relief.

One day he said he was going to his military post and would call me only in the evening,” Oksana recalls.

However, the woman had to wait for a call for 9 days. Finally, she received a call from Mechnikov Hospital in Dnipro city. As soon as he came out of coma, Oleh pronounced her phone number and asked others to let her know that he was alive and all was well with him. Later, the man was transferred to an Odesa hospital, and Oksana decided to visit him at any cost. Oleh was gradually telling her about his injury. He said that his face was very mutilated, and most importantly, his eyes had been injured. He said he could not see anything for a while.

“But when we met, I was shocked! He looked absolutely not like the man I’d seen in the photo: a burnt, scarred face, and no eyes. I ran out into the corridor, stood there and cried. Everything was like in a fog: people were coming up and shoving money into my pockets…” the woman says.

Oleh was transferred from Odesa to a Kyiv hospital. Oksana decided to accompany him so as not to burden the nurses and then go home from Kyiv. When the doctor asked, “Who is accompanying you?” Oleh replied, “It is my wife.”

“At that moment I realized that I would never leave him. A week later, Oleh proposed to me,” says Oksana.

The plans of the future married couple to have a modest wedding registration were ruined by volunteers. They organized a full-fledged wedding celebration: with filming, a festive table from Pizza Veterano, and a car with wedding ribbons. “We are sincerely grateful, and it was unforgettable!” says Oksana.

Not everyone understood their decision to start a family. Oksana’s friends “felt sorry” for her, who doesn’t have a disability. However, the highest level of non-acceptance came from Oleg’s relatives.

“They looked at me almost as a swindler. They were saying I’d married him to get his money. No matter how many times I explained to them that he gave the money he received after his injury to his only daughter to help her buy an apartment, their attitude towards me still remains hostile. After the wedding, I moved to live with Oleg in Berdiansk. We were living together with his relatives. The difficulty was that they were trying to “set” Oleg against me.

In the end, I couldn’t stand it any longer and gave him a choice: either we rent a separate apartment, or I go home alone. Oleg said that it was me whom he needed – the one who had not abandoned him in the most difficult days,” the woman says.

The first year in Berdiansk was the hardest for Oksana. The overwhelming red tape paperwork to get Oleg’s disability certified and the lack of money for basic necessities – all those made her unbearably tired.

“I didn’t have any friends in the city, and I didn’t find any support! I couldn’t start working because I was constantly accompanying and caring for Oleg. He was absolutely unrehabilitated and experienced problems with alcohol.

And later, the then Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko came to Oleg’s award ceremony. He gifted us money for a new apartment. We felt incredibly happy in our dream home!” Oksana recalls.

When Oleg was offered the opportunity to participate in a rehabilitation camp for the military with vision impairments, he looked for any possible reason to refuse.

“He perceived his vision loss as temporary – despite the doctors’ verdict that there was no hope, he still hoped it would go away. He didn’t even want to hear about rehabilitation! In the end, it was more comfortable for him to have his wife by his side and always take care of him,” explains Oksana.

Still, after much persuasion, Oleg agreed to try at least.

We are sincerely grateful to the public organization “Modern Look” for their work and attention to the wounded guys! Incredible changes took place even after the first rehabilitation session: Oleg started walking with a stick, created a human rights NGO in Berdiansk, and ran for deputy election. His life has changed dramatically!” says Oksana.

Oleg’s comrades-in-arms warned the Mamoshyn family about a possible full-scale invasion. They advised the family to leave, and, on the 22nd of February 2022, the couple left Berdiansk.

“Now we are living in a village in Dnipropetrovsk region, and everything is relatively well. But it is very painful for us that many of our friends and patriots whom we know are now imprisoned,” the woman says.

Today, women whose husbands lost their eyesight in adulthood turn to Oksana for advice. First of all, she advises them to avoid her own mistake – excessive caring.

“I keep telling the girls that our guys are normal healthy people, just blind. They are able to learn to take care of themselves, but they get used to overprotection and don’t always want to do it,” she says.

Prepared by Denys Ivanchenko


“THE INVINCIBLE LADY” is a series of articles about Ukrainian women and girls that motivate, fascinate, and inspire.

This initiative is part of the project “Empowerment of Women and Girls with Disabilities by Strengthening their Involvement and Leadership in Communities,” which is being implemented by the National Assembly of People with Disabilities of Ukraine with the support from the UN Women Ukraine and the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund.

About the UN Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF)

The UN Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund is a unified global financial mechanism designed exclusively to support the participation of women in peace and security building and humanitarian responses. Governed by a range of civil society, governments, and the UN actors, WPHF is a multi-partner trust fund that mobilizes urgently needed funding for local women-led organizations and works together with women on the frontlines to build lasting peace. WPHF has provided funding and supported capacity building for more than 500 local civil society organizations working with the “Women, Peace, and Security” agenda and implementing humanitarian activities in 28 crisis-affected countries.

This publication has been prepared with the financial support from the United Nations Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF), but the views and contents expressed herein do not necessarily represent the official endorsement or recognition of the United Nations.