Leaving war-torn Ukraine was not an easy decision for Catherine. She did not want to leave her husband Oleh, but he persuaded her to leave with both sons. She knows she’s safe now, but she’s still worried about her husband, who is currently volunteering in their home town of Tenopil, and receives regular alert notifications on her phone when there is an air alarm at home. “That’s how I know when to call my husband and ask if he’s okay,” adds Catherine.
Catherine, 32, is a teacher and left home with nine-year-old Oleksandr and four-year-old Artyom. They are one of more than five million Ukrainians who have fled Ukraine due to the war. The refugees have taken them to Wales, the United Kingdom, where they have been interviewed by the BBC.
Catherine and her sons are currently taking refuge in a specialized camp in a church in Wales, where more than 60 Ukrainian families are finding accommodation, food, education and other assistance.
“We were very pleasantly surprised when we got here,” says Catherine. “Everything was new, unexperienced. But now they are [Oleksandrs un Artjoms] are very happy, play with other children every day and go to school every day. They feel safe here – and that’s important. ”
Katerina is one of 222 Ukrainian refugees in the camp. More than a hundred of them are children who can now safely play and learn again.
“We waited 100 days because we didn’t want to leave at first, but my husband told us to leave,” Katerina recalls. “It simply came to our notice then. We were in the basement so often because of air sirens that I had to wake the kids all the time, even at night. ”
“But we decided to leave to find a safe place for my children.”
Katerina has been friends with other Ukrainian mothers while she has been in a Ukrainian refugee camp for two weeks. They, too, have fled their homes and are now worried about their husbands and relatives in Ukraine, despite being safe.
Katerina’s children, who did not attend school for three months due to the war, are now learning English and Welsh and participating in various activities with other Ukrainian children. Meanwhile, parents in the camp focus on looking for work and wondering where to go next.