'Not afraid any more': Cork centre helped evacuate family from Ukraine

Oksana Kunytska and Ala Senuk, who together with their children escaped from the war zone by hitchhiking, have thanked Together Razem for its assistance and support in getting them to safety
'Not afraid any more': Cork centre helped evacuate family from Ukraine

Oksana Kunytska and Ala Senuk and their children, photographed, now have found safety at a Christian centre in Lublin, Poland.

A WOMAN who has fled war-torn Ukraine with her sister and their families with the help of a Cork-based organisation has said they “don’t have to be afraid of tomorrow any more”.

Oksana Kunytska and Ala Senuk, who together with their children escaped from the war zone by hitchhiking, have thanked Together Razem for its assistance and support in getting them to safety.

Speaking to The Echo, director of the Cork centre Voyteck Bialek said they were able to use their many connections with organisations and charities in Poland to get the families to safety.

A friend of the sisters, who they grew up with in Ukraine and who now lives in Cork, was familiar with the work of Together Razem and contacted the centre in dire need of help for her close friends.

Ms Kunytska said: “I cannot express in words how grateful we are, thank you with all our hearts. We are not starving and we don’t have to be afraid of tomorrow anymore. Thank you.”

The families are amongst thousands who have travelled to Poland since the invasion.

On the second day after the Russian invasion, Ms Kunytska and her sister travelled with their children, bringing only one suitcase.

BORDER CROSSING

The sisters, who do not speak any Polish, had no idea what to do when crossing the border into Poland. At that stage, there was no infrastructure ready on the Polish side.

A Ukrainian, who they did not know, offered them a place to stay at his residence in Świdnik. However, he allowed them to stay for one night only as he was waiting for his own family to arrive from Ukraine.

They were then sent by their compatriot to a hostel, but they did not have any Polish or Ukrainian money and were desperate.

Mr Bialek said that “things moved quickly” once Together Razem stepped in with the help of contacts, good people, and knowledge of the Polish environment.

He said that thanks to many phone calls, social media, and warm-hearted people in Poland, Ms Kunytska, Ms Senuk, and their children are now safe and have a roof over their heads in a Christian centre in the Polish city of Lublin.

He said that while they still face the formalities related to their refugee status, they now feel calmer and are in good hands.

Mr Bialek said that bringing them to safety was the start of the centre’s involvement in helping Ukrainians by using their contacts in Poland, in government institutions, and in non-governmental organisations.

Together Razem is also supporting Ukrainians in Cork and across Ireland.

The centre is now preparing for the arrival of thousands of refugees into Ireland and is also fundraising for medical supplies to Ukraine.

“We already have the infrastructure in place in terms of advice services, the English classes, and this is what we will offer to these newcomers very soon,” Mr Bialek said.

“We are going to seek support from the authorities to hire a Ukrainian-speaking counsellor because we are aware that these women coming from the war zones will be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and will need this support.

“We also have two volunteers, Ukrainian-speaking volunteers, who are willing to support mothers in terms of the assistance on where to go, what to do, and help with documentation and basic translation.”

  • To find out more about the work of Together Razem or to make a donation to the fundraiser for Ukraine, visit www.togetherrazem.org.


More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130
EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more