Svitlana’s Story

Svitlana Voitenko escaped from the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, south of Kyiv, after it was hit by seven Russian rockets. That same day, she would have visited the city centre that was destroyed with 23 dead, if her cousin hadn’t been very late for a get-together.

Svitlana wanted to come to the UK because of Russian threats to use nuclear weapons. With her now 10-year-old daughter Kateryna, she found a host in Bromsgrove. Later they were joined by her mother Tamara.

“Thank you for everybody because I’ve been supported so very, very nice. I’m happy to be here. I’m happy that I’m protected, that no bombed is on my head,” she said.

Svitlana, who has two degrees and worked as a maths teacher in Ukraine, now has four part-time jobs, three as a cleaner and recently as a school lunchtime supervisor.
But her future remains uncertain. “It’s really danger to be in Ukraine now,” she explained. “I like my life here. I want to go back to Ukraine because there are my friends and I want to stay here because there are more opportunities, and the country is more safe.”