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UKRAINE: Ukrainian women have relocated to Bandon with local help and support

April 5th, 2022 9:41 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Elena Rozgen with Lydia and her daughter Anastassia, who are staying at a house in Bandon, thanks to John O’Mahony and his sister Majella Sharma.

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A UKRAINIAN mum-of-one, who has moved into a house in Bandon with her mum, daughter and much-loved cat, is hoping she can put her piano teaching skills to good use.

Elena Rozgen’s move to Bandon from Cherkassy in the Ukraine was made possible with the help of Édaín O’Donnell, who co-ordinated the move, while John O’Mahony and his sister Majella Sharma provided a house for Elena, her daughter Anastassia (14) and grandmother Lydia and her cat, Masya.

Clon native Édaín, who has previously helped with refugees in Greece, told The Southern Star that a mutual friend of hers and Elena got in touch with her and asked if she could help them, given her experience. Once contact was made, she put up an ad on local noticeboards on Facebook seeking a house for them in West Cork.

‘John had seen my ad and offered his parent’s house which is empty at the moment, which was an amazing result. He and his partner Marie, son Harry and friend Christine O’Brien and Marie’s mum Frankie Lucey, were remarkable in cleaning and getting the house ready for them in just 24 hours as Elena arrived from Krakov on March 18th,’ said Édaín, who collected them off the bus in Cork.

‘There was tremendous local support, too, as SuperValu in Bandon stocked their fridge full of groceries and when they arrived, there were flowers on the table and a welcoming fire for them.’

Édaín said Elena and her mum Lydia have been blown away by the hospitality shown to them by the people of Bandon and people have been donating household items including a hoover, fridge freezer and air fryer.

‘Elena is a piano teacher and has very good English and will be looking for students to teach if possible, while Lydia would love to teach singing,’ said Édaín.

‘Lydia also had to make the heartbreaking decision to leave behind two of her other cats, as she could not bring them all here.’

John O’Mahony said when they heard about Elena and her family they were only too delighted to offer their parents’ house to them and he praised Édaín for getting things moving so fast.

‘It was a quick turnaround to get the house ready but I had great help and it was worth it to see their reaction when they arrived.

‘They had never set an open fire before so I had to show them how to light one,’ said John.

‘Other businesses around the town also helped us with new plugs and sim cards and all this shows how Irish people can pull together when needed.’

John didn’t forget their cat Masya either, and he even got her a new bed which he placed next to the fireplace as she settles into her new Irish home.

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