"Pregnant with triplets continued to go to headquarters": How a military woman from Kyiv overcame the difficulties of motherhood during the most difficult times of war
For a year now, the BGV Charitable Foundation has been providing children with quality basic necessities. The project, which started in June 2022, helped parents of 40,000 newborns from 23 regions of Ukraine. Among them are AFU servicemen Tatiana and Yuri Kopets, parents of triplets Mark, Sviatoslav and Zakhar. They shared their incredible story with OBOZREVATEL readers.
"In December 2021 I found out that I was pregnant, and in the summer of 2023 the boys will be one year old. In general, it is very symbolic that our sons were born on July 8, the same day as Valery Zaluzhny. We have already accepted that probably all of them will also become military men, - says Tatiana. - That instead of one baby boy we will have three at once, we learned on the sixth week of pregnancy. My husband and I are military men, so at the beginning of a full-scale war, I, being pregnant with triplets, continued to go to the headquarters. I had to use several forms of public transport to get there. In addition, I suffered from severe toxicosis for three months, but eventually my condition normalized. However, it was impossible not to work, we all remember what happened in spring in Kyiv.
Being a mother during the war was a great challenge. Mothers of triplets faced not only the standard problems of pregnant women, but also a shortage of food and basic necessities.
"There were very few products in the stores that pregnant women needed, and it was very difficult to find vitamins at the pharmacy. My husband came home from work for a few hours, and leaving Kyiv with triplets in his belly was too risky," recalls the advocate. - When the babies were born and there was still a shortage of goods in the capital, BGV got in touch with us and suggested we apply for baby boxes. They brought us a lot of things: baby formula, toys and clothes of very cool quality - the very best things you usually try to buy for your children. It came as a surprise. Of course, the most valuable thing in the box was baby food, which was hard to get back then. And in general, we wore clothes for a very long time, because the kids took turns handing them over, because the difference in height they have about seven centimeters.
Mark, Sviatoslav, and Zakhar are almost the same age as the BGV Charitable Foundation project. The first wave of aid to new Ukrainians and their families began in June 2022. Back then, the first few hours after the launch, parents of newborns left thousands of requests for kits, and the website could barely sustain such activity on the part of the aid recipients.
"We are inspired by the women who give birth to their babies during the war. Having a baby is never easy, and in such difficult times, it's a huge stressor. We remember how Ukrainian women gave birth in bomb shelters, in the subway, under fire, and took care of babies in extreme conditions. At the same time Yulia was actively volunteering in our warehouse, sorting goods with the foundation team when she was nine months pregnant, and we knew we wanted to support such mothers. Baby necessities have always been expensive, and after February 24, 2022 they became even more scarce", - says Polina Aldoshina, director of the BGV Charity Fund.
According to her, the cost of each of the four waves of the project is about $1 million. Nova Posta, which completely took over the delivery of the kits, helps with logistics. To date, 40 thousand boxes have been delivered to 23 regions, 2908 settlements of Ukraine.
The main donors who provided products for mothers and children were BGV partners from Germany - dm-drogerie markt and the humanitarian initiative #WeAreAllUkrainians. Also in different waves the Biosphere Corporation, the Bybchen brand, the British charitable foundation We Help Ukrainians, the Huggies brand ("KIMBERLY-CLARK UKRAINE") and the Ukrainian offices of the international donors - HIPP and Chicco joined to fill the kits.
"The BGV Charitable Foundation was created by Gennady Butkevich's BGV Investment Group at the beginning of the full-scale invasion. All of us then wanted to be useful and needed. Gennady Vladislavovich supported the idea. In March 2022 we legally formalized our foundation, although the investment group itself had been doing charity work for a long time," recalls Aldoshina. - The BGV Foundation was able to quickly gain momentum, set up logistics in several countries, launch numerous charitable projects and bring in a large amount of humanitarian aid, thanks to the support and trust of Ukrainian and international partners, of which there are now over 30 companies".
Boxes for newborns are sent to all regions of Ukraine, except the temporarily occupied territories. But on occasion, foundation workers try to help even parents who find themselves with a baby in their arms in the occupation.
"We received several requests for baby kits from the then occupied Kherson. We realized that it was impossible to send them there, because the post offices in the city did not work, parents could not leave. Fortunately, the problem was solved by volunteers who risked their lives to go out of the occupation, got boxes at the nearest post offices and handed the babies to the parents right in the hands of the occupied Kherson - where they needed this help the most," says the director of the foundation.
Since the start of the full-scale invasion, the BGV Charity Fund has raised UAH 583 million in commodity and financial support to help Ukraine and has delivered more than 6,300 tons of humanitarian aid. The team plans to continue helping the country.