English StoriesMy name is Hanna and I am a refugee from Ukraine

My name is Hanna and I am a refugee from Ukraine

I arrived in Romania on March 13th.

I am from Nikolaev, a city situated not far away from Odessa. Before the war, getting from Odessa to Romania was very easy, the road took only half a day.

But because of the war, it was difficult to get to Romania. Early in the morning my mother and I left Nikolaev to go to Odessa. Volunteers helped us to evacuate. Before the war started this road took about 2 hours, but because of the large number of roadblocks we drove for over 3 hours.

After noon we arrived to Odessa and settled at the railway station waiting for the train that went to Izmail at night.  Izmail is a city that is located almost on the border with Romania.

At about 5:00 am we arrived in Izmail. Then we were taken by bus, which brought us to the seaport.  We went by boat from the seaport along the Dunai River to the border town Isaccea.

The road was long, we sailed on a boat for about 4 hours, and we even returned, because the Border Guard first let a man with his wife and three children through, but then changed their minds and returned the boat to put them ashore to prevent them from crossing the border.

When we sailed to Isaccia, the volunteers met us.  Everything was great, the volunteers were very friendly, they immediately asked if anyone needed medical assistance, fed us, gave us hot tea and invited everyone in turn to go through border control.

We arrived at the invitation of NGO Youth Cancer Europe, so a volunteer was already waiting for us at the border. He took us to Bucharest by his car, but for those who do not know how to get there from the border, the volunteers organize a free bus that also takes everyone to Bucharest.

Our final destination was Cluj-Napoca. We did not have time to buy tickets to Cluj from Bucharest, because the last train left immediately after our arrival, so volunteer Edi asked his friend to buy tickets for us in advance, and when we arrived in Bucharest, tickets were already waiting for us. So we got on the train and spent the whole night on the road, and in the morning we finally got to Cluj-Napoca.

Volunteers also met us in Cluj-napoca and settled us in a hotel. We stayed at the hotel for 3 weeks, but it’s hard enough because you have no fridge, no kettle, no kitchen etc. We planned to stay for a long time, so we decided to look for an apartment.  We were greatly helped by the EMAUS organization and their employee Emmanuel. They provided us with an apartment for a few months, and we are very grateful for that.

After the outbreak of the war, our entire family was left without work.  I was working as a recruiting manager and the company I worked for just went out of business. My mother worked as an administrator in a hotel, the hotel also stopped working since the beginning of the war. Therefore, we try to save on everything, and volunteer organizations that work in Cluj-Napoca help us a lot here.

A few weeks ago, I learned about the organisation  Prison Fellowship that provides free lunches and free food for refugees from Ukraine. I contacted this organization and asked if I could come to get free food and I was told that of course I could. Since then I come three times a week.

I know that some people come every day and they always get help. We are very grateful to the organization Prison Fellowship for their help to all refugees!

Speaking about the adaptation of refugees to life in Romania, I can say that all the locals are very helpful with this.

I speak English, so there is no communication problem for me. I even help with Ukrainian translations for some organizations.  Now I am a volunteer-interpreter, and I am very glad that I can be useful. I also volunteer at the railway station, where local volunteers have made a special hub for everyone who comes to Cluj-Napoca or travels through this city.

I also helped the organization Prison Fellowship with packing boxes of humanitarian food for the people of Ukraine and I see that this is really a big help for Ukraine. So they help not only refugees but also those who stay in Ukraine and face the war.

There are now many refugees from Ukraine in Cluj-Napoca and they also try not to sit still. They organize special fairs. These are charity fairs, thanks to which they collect money for our military.

Refugees organize children’s circles, children’s sections, there is an unofficial school where Ukrainian refugees teach for Ukrainian children. But we miss our home very much and hope to be able to return there soon.


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