A SCHULL man who teaches English online to Ukrainian students has spoken to The Southern Star of the distress his friends and former pupils are experiencing.
‘My concern is the dangerous and difficult situation these people, particularly young children, are in. It’s horrendous,’ said Brendan Molloy.
‘I have friends in Kyiv who are living in bunkers. I also know people who have made it across the border to Poland but they, too, are displaced because they have had to flee their homes,’ he added.
Brendan’s close connections with Ukraine began in September 2019, when he was in Russia, and a teacher put him in contact with an English language group in the country.
Since November 2020, he has been teaching Ukrainian children online from his home at Lowertown in Schull.
He also teaches and works in Russia from time to time and to see the conflict between the two countries is, he said, ‘heartbreaking’.
‘I have built up contacts in many parts of Ukraine – not just in the cities but in the towns and villages, too, mainly in Western Ukraine.’
Brendan made his first trip to the country in September 2021 and spent five weeks teaching in schools, visiting universities, and working with students in rural areas.
‘It was an experience of a lifetime,’ said Brendan who mixed paid work with voluntary work during his five-week post-lockdown visit.
He said he was upset by the war, and the impact it is having on the lives of so many, and he is constantly checking up on people on social media to see if they are okay – if they have survived the invasion.