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Oksana, Ukrainian Refugee

Where in Ukraine are you from did/do live?

I live in the suburbs of Kyiv, 16 km from the city. The village is called Bilogorodka.

Describe your experience with your host in a few words/phrases?

I can’t overestimate everything the hosts, Maria and Miles, did for

me, from basic important things, to sharing their time, hearts, and minds with me! It has been a tough experience for me an introvert fleeing the war to make myself settled in someone’s family, but I do not want to forget it, I will always remember, and I will carry it in my heart with a deep gratitude to my hosts!

What is the most important thing you have learnt about this period in your life?

I have discovered that people are by far more sharing, caring and capable of doing kind and good things to aliens, those who are in trouble, than I could imagined before the catastrophe broke out on February 24th, 2022.

Where are you now?

After a seven and a half months’ stay at the family of my sponsors in Great Bowden, I returned to my home.

What are your plans for the future?

We are all here in Ukraine have one goal for everybody, which is victory. And we all make it  come true by doing our everyday dues and either donating to the army’s needs, or volunteering, or fighting. With the victory, we will have to be agile, creative and innovative, and helping the government steer “our boat” in the proper direction. I hope, Ukrainians have eventually learnt or are close to learn one lesson: democracies, especially young and vulnerable need everyday care and close watch by the public. And one more point, on my return home, I do try to live already without putting off the plans for the future. We live! We live now, every moment, so I am continuously working on my plans’ implementation.

If you could share one memory about Harborough what would it be?

The flag of Ukraine waving in the back yard between two houses in the Station Road. I did not know who put it up, but it was a tremendous support for me, each time walking

to town I was anxious to see it. I am thankful to the people who hoisted it! I also cherished the beauty of the yew trees in the church yard, lindens in the alleys, flowers, particularly roses, in the yards. And great friends, of course! Nice, sincere, intelligent, and caring people!

What is your favourite place in Harborough?

 I loved your theatre, it is very nice, professional, and just a lovely place to be in. And the library of course, so nice and comfortable with an excellent collection of books and very friendly personnel.

If you could give one message to the people of Harborough, what would it be?

I appreciate your hospitality, support, and friendliness! You are a good community with values and morals, which is great. I am thankful to you for giving me a shelter, and for wonderful friends that I have found here!!!

Anything else you would like to say?

Thank you, Britain, for helping Ukraine protect our right to exist! You are worthy of your fathers and grandfathers, who once saved the world from German Nazism! Now, you are with us, supporting our struggle against Russian Nazism! To make the world safe Ukraine is to win.