THREE Ukrainians have thanked the Bandon couple who welcomed them into their home, and helped them feel less alone, on the one-year anniversary of the conflict.
Andrew and Caroline Coleman hosted Victoria and her son Vlad in their Bandon home from May until November last year. When the mother and son moved into a nearby apartment to get some additional living space, Tetianna moved in and is staying with the couple at present.
Victoria, who comes from the central city of Kropyvnytskyi, paid tribute to Andrew and Caroline.
‘I like Andrew’s family and their traditions. They know how to welcome guests by making parties and picnics. At first, my parents didn’t support me coming, but after telling them about the peaceful situation here, they are praying for the kind Irish people who offered me a home,’ she said.
Tetianna, who comes from Kyiv, also thanked the Colemans and added: ‘I don’t feel alone and I am happy here. Irish people are very merry, always smiling and laughing. They are very hospitable, welcoming, helpful and open-hearted.’
Andrew, who works as a church and community officer at Christian Aid Ireland, spoke of his hopes for the future.
‘Tetianna and Victoria are part of our family now. We are looking forward to visiting them in Ukraine when the war is over,’ he said.
Victoria, Vlad and Tetianna are among more than 6,000 Ukrainian refugees living in Cork and among nearly 8m people who have crossed Ukraine’s borders to reach safety.
Working through local partner organisations, Christian Aid has reached around 800,000 people within Ukraine as well as Ukrainians in Hungary and Romania.