Hear My Story


“Every day, they stood the 13-year-old against a wall and shot around him with a Kalyshnikov while his mother watched. His mother could speak a little but he was a vegetable.”

Lilia Shchepankevych (60) shared her time between Warsaw and her home city of Lviv before the war began. Before the war, she had been a police officer in Ukraine. She has been a dedicated member of the Modlinska center since its inception and worked as the person responsible for registering each of the 70,000 residents of the center as they arrived and left. She was typically the first person a new refugee would confide in about their experiences.

Her Story:
“I want everyone to know that refugees are often people without anything. They have no house, no clothes and no family members, because many of them died, not even on the front lines, but because they were just going to the shops and got killed. They have nothing and we need to help them with work and with schooling. It is very hard for them. They come to the center and they get depression. They don’t know what will happen, what will be next. They are unsure of the future so they get depression. I have seen many horrible things. One 13-year-old boy who arrived with his mother had completely grey hair and could not speak. Every day, the soldiers stood him against a wall and shot around him with a Kalashnikov while his mother watched. His mother could speak a little but he was a vegetable. In Mariupol, Russian soldiers were collecting kids off the streets and sending them to Russia. When the local orphanage was bombed, one brave woman collected 60 kids over two weeks. The youngest child was found breast feeding on her dead mother. They had nothing to eat for those two weeks, but she somehow got them all safely to the Center.”

The Future:
“I just want the war to end. I believe many of our current residents will just return to Ukraine when it is safe to do so.”

As Ask For Help:
As a single mother, Lilia is seeking assistance for her son, who requires a heart pacemaker they can’t afford.