A pregnant 35-year-old Ukrainian refugee is seeking accommodation for herself and her son in Wicklow town, where 10-year-old Tymur has just started school.
lena Kurazaieva and Tymur both had to flee their native city of Kyiv on February 21, as the Russians began bombarding the area with artillery and shells. Her husband, Andrii, who is an IT consultant, remains back in Ukraine.
Their escape from the war-zone involved 48 sleepless hours in traffic jams, as cars desperately tried to reach the border, followed by a gruelling six kilometre walk, before finally reaching safety.
“The journey was very difficult,” said Olena, who is over five months pregnant.
“We left as soon as the bombing started and didn’t end up sleeping for two days. It was very scary. At first we went to my parents house in the east of Kyiv, but things started to get worse so we moved on. We then had to walk 6km, which I found really exhausting, especially being 23 weeks pregnant. It was such a long journey but we finally made it to the border.”
Olena is still able to keep in touch with family and friends back in the Ukraine, but understandably has serious concerns over their safety.
“They are as safe as they can be given the situation, but there is no safe place in Ukraine. The Russians are bombing all around. It’s a real life disaster. We want to come back home whenever we can, but we don’t know when it will be possible. As far as I know our house still exists but for how long? Russia is destroying everything.”
Olena and Tymur arrived in Ireland on March 8, and were provided with a spare room in the Newcastle home of Chief Customs Officer Sarah Holmes, whom Olena had worked with as a contractor.
“They are a brilliant family and we can’t thank them enough. They have been so good to us,” added Olena.
She has tried to protect her son from the ordeal and trauma he has been through, but so far Tymur has proved remarkably resilient.
“He seems OK, but it has been difficult and not so good for him. Now he has started going to classes with Sarah’s daughter, so he isn’t too bad. He’s not sitting around bored at home all day, which is good.”
Wicklow Montessori made the generous offer of accepting Tymur into their 4th class, and he has settled in well.
“It’s a great school,” said Olena.
“Tymur seems to have settled in very well and the children and teachers have been very good to him. It’s a cool school. His English isn’t so good but he has been learning English for four years so it’s improving. He is handling everything quite well.”
While Olena is extremely grateful to the Holmes family for providing them with accommodation, she would prefer an abode in Wicklow town, closer to the school her son is attending.
“The Holmes are a brilliant family and they have said we can stay as long as we like, but it would be easier for us to rent something in Wicklow town, near to Tymur’s school. We don’t have a car, which can make things a bit difficult. It would be easier to be near to shops and services you could walk to. It would also be easier for me to get a train or bus to Dublin if I need to go to the hospital.”
However, so far Olena’s search for accommodation in Wicklow town has proved fruitless.
“We are just looking for some room to rent, or maybe a small studio. I was looking on Daft.ie but there isn’t much available in the Wicklow town area. We could try and move somewhere else but Wicklow Montessori is a really good school and I don’t want to be disrupting Tymur anymore than he already has.”
If anyone knows of or could offer some suitable accommodation to Olena, they can do so by contacting her by WhatsApp on 0038 063702 2501.