A Bromsgrove refugee has been forced to celebrate Easter away from home and family as the war continues in Ukraine.
Tetyana Galenda lived in Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv – about 50 km from the eastern border with Russia. But she fled the bloodshed and is now staying with a host in Bromsgrove.
So this Easter, the 64-year-old grandmother used her skills to produce a floral centrepiece for celebrations at Bromsgrove Methodist Church Centre, rather than selling bouquets from the Kharkiv flower shop she has run for 19 years.
Ukrainian refugee Tetyana Galenda with the Easter floral centrepiece she created
Using a translation app, Tetyana explained that this year, her Easter is very different.
“Before the war, every year I baked Easter cakes and made cottage cheese. This is our tradition. We painted eggs and the whole family gathered for this great holiday. At my shop we also made a lot of bouquets for this holiday.”
But the shop is now closed, and Tetyana is constantly in fear for her aunt, sister and disabled brother who’ve remained in the place she still calls home.
“I am very worried for them,” she added. “Every day I call them in the morning to find out if they are ok and how many times Kharkiv has been bombed and if my house has been hit with a rocket or shrapnel while they are in the place. I don’t know how much more the house will stand from the rockets.”
Tetyana is grateful for the local support she’s received from Bromsgrove & Redditch Welcome Refugees (BRWR), which also provides weekly social get-togethers and English teaching for Ukrainian refugees.
“I am very thankful. I really like to learn English and all the teachers are lovely. I enjoy going to the classes,” she said.
Tetyana now hopes to meet more of the estimated 100 Ukrainian refugees living in and around the Bromsgrove.
The free support group meetings are held every Thursday morning between 10 am and 12 noon at the Bromsgrove Methodist Church Centre on Stratford Road. Refugees and supporters are welcome to just turn up – there’s no need to book. Further information from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tetyana enjoyed using her talents to help a Bromsgrove church celebrate Easter, but she longs for a return to normality.
“I am very grateful to England, and the people and the government. In general the people here are very kind, and the weather is good!” she concluded. “But Ukraine is still my homeland and of course I am waiting for the war to end so I can go home.”