By Molly Pavord
As the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches, there are still thousands of refugees in need of support from South London residents.
Reset, a refugee charity, has more than 3,000 active cases of single people or family groups looking for homes, and only 100 trained hosts ready to go. Most of these cases are looking for homes in London.
Dmytro Danchuk, 22, spoke of his own experience of fleeing Ukraine in June 2022, after being matched with Greenwich residents Sean Larkins and Shahudul Miah by Reset.
He said: “Mostly I lived in Kyiv when the war started, so I dealt with air sirens when you go for coffee with your friends, and I still hear phantom sirens sometimes.
“For the first four months, every time I heard a plane I was scared because in Ukraine we only have two types of planes: Either our military planes or a Russian missile.
“The hardest part for me was to make the decision to go because I moved alone. I haven’t seen my mum since July. I haven’t seen my relatives, my grandpa, grandma, my friends since June.
“It’s very hard but we should try to deal with it in some way and try to live our lives and try to do the best that we can now to help people in war.”
Dmytro was a student in Ukraine and was able to leave to pursue his education.
He left Kyiv on June 17 and lived in Germany with relatives until coming to London on July 11, 2022, relieved to have found a home in a country where he speaks the language.
He has now settled into London and is continuing his education while working as a special effects coordinator in the film industry, a similar job to the one he had in Ukraine.
However, there are still so many more people in need of this kind of support.
He added: “Frontline is still moving. A lot of people are still looking for a house and sometimes people don’t have an opportunity to leave.
“For example, people from Kherson could not leave before because they were in occupation, and now they can.
“Some people in Kherson don’t have their houses because they were destroyed by the Russian army and now they will be looking for places to live.
“It’s still a very important question because for a lot of people in Ukraine it’s still very hard.”
Shahudul and Sean had always wanted to help refugees and so registered with Reset as well as Refugees at Home, an organisation that helps refugees from Afghanistan and Syria as well as Ukraine.
Sean said: “I think we got to the point where you can sit and shout at the news about what’s happening in Ukraine and to refugees in general or do something more practical.
“We felt very strongly that whatever we had to offer is more than a refugee is likely to have anyway.”
He added: “Dymtro’s become a good friend to us throughout this process, so I think we’ve benefitted from it just as much as he has in a strange way.”
Reset urges anyone considering becoming a host for Ukrainian refugees to register for their free online webinar to find out more on their website at https://resetuk.org.
The charity’s spokeswoman, Bridget Chapman, said: “If you think you might be able to help, we really need you to register and find out more.”
Pictured top: Dmytro Danchuk, Shahudul Miah and Sean Larkins (Picture: Sean Larkins)
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