A NINE-year-old girl from Ukraine started school in Clonakilty this week after fleeing her war-struck country to live in West Cork.
Anastasiia Myronets enrolled in fourth class at St Joseph’s Girls National School where everyone did their very best to help her feel at home.
Principal Darina Scally explained how Anastasiia’s dad Valentyn has worked in West Cork for some time now, and when a family friend told her that his wife Kateryna and daughter were joining him, she wanted to help in any way she could.
‘We were very lucky to have Google Translate to help us on her first morning and Anastasiia is settling in well,’ she said.
The young student is being helped by Aileen O’Connor, who works in an ‘English as an Additional Language’ (EAL) role.
Darina said they are happy to help accommodate other students, or help place them in other schools. Nearly 6,000 people have come to Ireland from Ukraine over the past two weeks, and one third are of school-going age.
Education Minister Norma Foley has pledged to do whatever is needed to ensure Ukrainian children who arrive here continue their education.
A group called ‘Ukrainians in Clonakilty’ has also been set up in the West Cork town, offering support to people as they arrive into the country.
That included helping one woman who was six-months pregnant who arrived on Tuesday with her 14-year-old son.
Meanwhile, Clonakilty Distillery will donate €10 from every bottle of gin and whiskey sold both online and in its physical store to the Ukrainian Red Cross Appeal from now until the end of March.
Founder Michael Scully said: ‘We stand behind the people of Ukraine in solidarity and we wanted to make our own contribution to supporting this appeal.’