Let us introduce you to Alyona and Denis with their three young children Zak (11), Dina (8) and Renata (3). These inspirational people who dared to leave the Ukraine amongst all the bombings and killings in their car so that they could reach the UK to safety with their extended family.
On meeting them for the very first time in May, after supporting them to reach the UK via our Romania project, we sat and listened to the horrific circumstances that they endeavoured whilst they travelled through the Ukraine to reach the Romanian border.
Alyona tells us “each day we drove for around 12 hours, starting very early and ending very late into the evening where we would find a bunker to rest ourselves. There was no food, or washing facilities until we were able to reach the home of someone we knew. Our three children sat in the car for those 12 hours a day. We told them the bombings were fireworks!
We left our home and our friends and my mother. Denis was able to stay with us because there was a law made that men could stay with their wives if they had 3 or more children. It was so difficult.”
As we sat and talked for hours on end, tucking into a Nandos, you could see the resilience of Alyona and Dan. She is a mighty gutsy woman and he, although very softly spoken, Denis is a strong man of character.
We listened to their stories, how there is no electricity or water, just for one hour a day in some areas and how in one area, a village school being attacked by Russian soldiers and where they took a head teacher (aged about 38-40) held her hostage for 20 days and raped her, then shot her.
Alyona speaks to her mother once a week in secret. The whole family are scared for their mother.
At the moment they are safe, they have a home loaned to them by the local church and Dan is still employed by his Ukrainian company working from the UK – life is very different for them but all they really want to do is to go back to their home in the Ukraine. We pray and hope that they can do this soon.
Alyona and Dan are just one family, one family who have now become friends. But there are many others. Our Way of Joy project are still taking in Ukrainian refugees each week, providing them with food, washing facilities, anything to help them get back to normality in their life. Some stay but most travel on to other countries to find work, and our work will continue to support the Way of Joy refugees for as long as we are able.
Never forget the Ukrainian people and what they are going through. If you can support them in any way, every little helps. You can support the Way of Joy to continue their great work in helping the refugees by donating to our appeal.
Val Huxley, Bill Huxley with Alonya, Dan and the children Zak(11), Dina(9) and Renata(2) joined by Sister Lara, husband Nathan and her two children Maximus(3) and Lily (10)