Ukrainian Alina: “We are glad that we can study in Lithuania”

“We allocated funds so that Ukrainians could improve their knowledge of the English language, I am glad that we managed to help several hundred. From the conducted research, we saw that Ukrainians would like to learn English, as many plan to return to Ukraine and hope that this knowledge will be useful to them both in Lithuania and Ukraine”, says Eitvydas Bingelis, head of IOM Lithuania.

Oksana currently lives in Taurage, she is one of the training participants. She came to Lithuania from Mykolaiv as soon as the war started.

“After assessing the circumstances, I can say that everything turned out well, we managed to avoid the horrors of war, and we feel very good in Lithuania and are grateful for all the help provided,” says Oksana.

She says that she worked in the beauty field in Ukraine – she was a manicurist. It is not possible to work in Lithuania for the time being, because it is necessary to pay more attention to my first-grader son, who is studying at a Lithuanian school. The woman does not lose hope of returning to her hometown, but for now it is not safe, besides the infrastructure is destroyed, and finding a job would be extremely difficult for both her and her husband.

“We are happy with what we have here, what we managed to create. We got a lot of help, we met a lot of wonderful people and, of course, I’m glad that I can study too,” says the woman.

IOM Lithuania photo/Ukrainian Oksana

IOM Lithuania photo/Ukrainian Oksana

Another training participant, Alina, who came to Lithuania from Zaporizhia, is also happy that she had the opportunity to learn English.

“I did not know English at all, and it is especially necessary. So this knowledge I got is invaluable. It was very interesting to study and I am happy with the teacher’s professionalism”, says Alina.

She has been living in Lithuania for more than a year, since the beginning of the war, and her husband has been fighting for Ukraine’s independence for the same number of months. “We’d like to go home, but until the man says it’s safe, we won’t. Especially since our daughter attends a Lithuanian kindergarten and integrates well. We like it in Lithuania, we met many wonderful people who became our friends”, says Alina.

Another training participant, Liudmila, says that a year ago on March 1 an acquaintance called her and said that she was leaving Ukraine. So she took her son without thinking and went to the station. The woman remembers that the journey was extremely difficult, the overcrowded train from her hometown to Lviv ran without lights so that the enemy would not notice it, and it ran out of space, food and water. Later, she reached Warsaw, and from there she drove to Suwalki, then reached Vilnius.

We didn’t have any things because I just didn’t have time to collect them, the volunteers in Warsaw warmed us, gave us outer clothes and hot food. Acquaintances helped us to settle in Vilnius and find an apartment for rent. Now I have been working here for a year in the service area, and my son is in school.

“We didn’t have any things because I just didn’t have time to collect them, volunteers in Warsaw warmed us, gave us outerwear and hot food. Acquaintances helped us to settle in Vilnius and find an apartment for rent. Now I have been working here for a year in the field of service, and my son attends school,” says Lyudmila.

IOM Lithuania photo/Ukrainian Lyudmila

IOM Lithuania photo/Ukrainian Lyudmila

She started attending English language courses organized by IOM Lithuania to make it easier to communicate with clients, she would really like to learn Lithuanian as well, because, as she says, she sees that this language is simply necessary for her.

“I have been asked many times if I like Lithuania, for a long time I said that it is safe here. It was the most important thing for me, because children don’t have to see war, hear shooting, sleep in basements, in general, a terrible tragedy is happening in my house right now that shouldn’t have happened. I am grateful for all the help you have given us, I am happy to see the Ukrainian flags – it is very supportive. I really hope that we will be able to return home, that my house will not be destroyed, but for now we have to wait here, where it is safe,” says Liudmila.

The English language training courses organized by IOM Lithuania were conducted by the specialists of the Baltic International School. The training took place in 24 groups of 40 hours each, and their participants could improve their existing knowledge or learn the basics of English.

IOM Lithuania has been actively providing assistance to war refugees since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. An emotional support line for Ukrainians has been operating since October. Every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. consultations by professional psychologists are provided in Ukrainian and Russian languages. And in September and March, training was organized for psychologists and psychiatrists from Ukraine so that they could provide assistance to Ukrainians. Monetary benefits are also allocated to ensure the most basic needs.

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