Stories from Ukraine: Refugees settle in England

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HASTINGS, ENGLAND – It’s been nearly nine months since Russia invaded Ukraine. Soon after the war, we sent our crew to Poland to cover the refugee crisis. We have sent our crew back to Europe to continue reporting on the war. Our team traveled to Hastings, England where she has reconnected with refugees they met months ago in Poland.

In the English coastal town of Hastings, England, small group of Ukrainian refugees sing and give birthday wishes to another Ukrainian refugee. That’s Natalia and you might recognize her. After the war began, we met her and her son Peter at a train station in Poland. They were on their way to England where they are allowed to temporarily stay.

“When we come here, we were so lost,” said Natalia. “We didn’t know what to do, where to go and the government created a great system to help Ukrainians.”

We met with the strangers who offered them a place to stay at their home here in Hastings.

“It takes a bit of adapting and getting used to having somebody in your home,” said Corinna Powers, who volunteered to take in Natalia and Peter.

But after months of living together, they have since become more like family.

“We cook together every evening and we sit around the table which is a nice thing for all of us,” said Powers. “It’s a very rewarding thing to do if you can get it right.”

Since moving here, they’ve been busy.

“We learn English, no one from us not sitting at home,” said Natalia. “We are working, we are studying, we are doing something and we go together to support each other and it’s so really valued.”

Natalia has become somewhat of the Ukrainian point person for Hastings.

“I’ve met a lot of people like Members of Parliament, like has different offices, whether the charities, whether the churches, everyone. I can contact with them and ask them like what we need, what can we do, what can we get,” said Natalia.

The move has been a big change for the pair, especially for Peter. He is enrolled in school and is learning English. We’re told he is the only refugee in class. Peter told us he’s making new friends and just like the last time we saw Peter in the Krakow train station, he is still full of energy.

Most importantly, Hastings has also given them something else: a chance to build new friendships with other Ukrainian refugees.

Our crew in Europe will soon travel to Poland and then Ukraine. You will only see their content on our station.


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