Guimarães, Braga May 15, 2022 (Lusa) – Nina, Daria and Juliia arrived in Guimarães on March 15 with minor children, the pain of war and uncertainty, but after two months, they feel integrated, with work and their children to attend school.
Nina Kozachok, 38 years old, Vladislav and Rostislav, 15 and 8 years old, lived in Vinnitsa but, as soon as the war started, they fled to Poland, where they stayed for a few days in a pavilion with “more than 1,500 people” of various nationalities, “ afraid and in very difficult humanitarian conditions”.
Nina says that it was during this period, through Facebook, that she learned that Portugal was receiving people from Ukraine, promising them “work, home and school for the children”.
“This is very important for anyone who has two children. Portugal was the country that offered the best conditions [for reception]”, says Nina, who did not know the country, nor Guimarães, the city where she arrived with other compatriots in a nine-seater van, with a mix of “sadness, happiness and uncertainty” to face the future.
However, the beautician’s fear “for the unknown”, quickly turned into a “good surprise”, starting with the conditions she found in the host family’s house, in the parish of Fermentões.
“We couldn’t believe it: rooms prepared, table full of food, with cereal for the children, the fridge full. I am very grateful to this family”, underlines Nina, through the voice of the translator who accompanied the interview, which took place at the host family’s home.
As for her children, her biggest concern is that of her husband, 38 years old, who had to stay in Ukraine, reports that “a week” after arriving, they were already attending schools in the municipality of Guimarães, which adapted to their needs “ new students”, who are learning Portuguese, geography, English, among other subjects.
“They were very well received in schools. The youngest is in the 2nd year at Fernando Távora [school] and the oldest is in the 10th year, at Francisco da Holanda [school], “says Nina Kozachok, adding that Vitória Sport Clube also offered to receive them. in different sports.
Visibly moved, the mother thanks and expresses “deep gratitude” to the host family and to the entities that have helped her family in this “difficult phase”, namely to the services of the Guimarães Council, which “are always available” to support, but assumes who wants to have their independence.
“I already have a job interview scheduled. I want to work, earn my money, have an independent life. I want to organize my life”, emphasizes Nina, for whom the return to Ukraine is, these days, just a “wish and a dream”.
Those already working are Daria Makarova, 34, and Juliia Yehorenkova, 42, friends who fled with their children, aged 14 and 16, from Nikopol, a city about 420 kilometers from the capital Kiev.
In Ukraine they worked in a bakery, in Guimarães they are employees, with a work contract, in the Continuing and Medium-Term Care and Rehabilitation Unit of the Polvoreira Parish Social Center (CSPP), in which they are “integrating very well”, with the precious help of ‘Google translator’.
A Moldovan co-worker, who has been in Portugal for several years, acted as a translator in the conversation with the two women, who, as soon as the war broke out, fled to Lviv, near the Polish border, where they stayed for five to six days. .
They say that, like Nina, with whom they traveled in the same little guy who arrived in the birthplace on March 15, it was through Facebook that they obtained information about the conditions that Portugal offered to Ukrainian refugees, namely, “food, work, everything” .
The “peace, tranquility, landscapes” and the advice of a friend with connections to Angola were fundamental for them to choose Portugal as a destination to escape the war and they risked coming “at luck”, without knowing anything or anyone.
The four live in an apartment that belongs to the CSPP, which will cover the expenses related to housing, for a year. After this period, a lease agreement will be made, at an affordable price.
The children Daria and Juliia also attend schools in the county, where they were “very well received and integrated” by educational establishments and colleagues.
Asked about a possible return to Ukraine, this seems to be, at the moment, a very distant reality.
“I live one day at a time. I don’t know tomorrow”, replied Julia.