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Newark College offers a safe haven for Ukrainian refugees to mingle and share their experiences



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Ukrainian refugees and their hosts had another opportunity to get to know one-another at Newark College.

The college has been facilitating get-togethers so that Ukrainians who have fled the war to the homes of private individuals within the district of Newark and Sherwood can make friends, integrate and share their experiences.

Among those at the most recent such event were Olga Riabenko and daughter Alisa and Oksana Boiadzhi and her daughters Emiliya and Melaniia Zhatkovska.

Olga Riabenko and her seven-year-old daughter Alisa and Oksana Boiadzhi and daughters Emiliya and Melaniia Zhatkovska.
Olga Riabenko and her seven-year-old daughter Alisa and Oksana Boiadzhi and daughters Emiliya and Melaniia Zhatkovska.

Olga came to the area via Poland where she spent two months in Warsaw awaiting visas and to find a host.

They lived in the area of the Bucha district in the western part of the Kyiv region which was the scene of a massacre.

Olga, who worked in public relations, and her daughter fled their home after seeing Russian tanks pass by their windows and made their way to Poland where the stayed with a friend who had taken in a lot of refugees.

What followed in Bucha became an international outrage — a massacre of innocent civilians by Russian armed forces during the fight for, and occupation of, Bucha amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Photographic and video evidence of the massacre emerged on April 1 after Russian forces withdrew from the city.

According to the mayor and other local authorities, approximately 1,000 bodies have been recovered from the town, including 31 children.

Olga, who is now looking for work in the field of public relations, said: "It was because of the war I decided to leave. It was dangerous after it started for my daughter.

"I noticed that she was becoming nervous. We were afraid together. Russian tanks went passed our windows and that made our decision.

Oksana hails from the Black Sea port of Odessa, which Russia sees as a key strategic target.

Penny Taylor, college lead for education and training, said: "Newark College was delighted to host another social evening for Ukrainian guests and their hosts.

"Colleges should be at the heart of the community and we take pride in the social value aspects of giving back to the community.

"Over the last two months Newark College has welcomed over 150 people to a variety of different social eating and meet-up events; this has allowed people to meet, swap numbers and build new friendships.

"As a college we have seen 56 Ukrainian guests begin to learn English."

Newark College provides free English and maths courses for adults — for more information, phone 01636 680680 or email newarkenquiries@lincolncollege.ac.uk



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