“We have lost a lot and it is difficult to start from scratch.”, Olena’s story

14 April 2024|JRS Europe

Olena is 29 years [old] pediatrician. When war began, her husband worked as a sales assistant and she was at home on maternity leave with the children. She has a 6-year-old daughter, a 3-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter. Olena and her family lived in the city of Dnipro, Ukraine. Initially, nothing happened in her city, but after a while, bombs began to fall. On the day of departure, a bomb was shot down 1 km from them, it was very scary, and they quickly left. In March 2022, they packed up and left for Hungary. They drove hard for 4 days straight.

In Hungary, she found free housing for Ukrainians on the website for one year. A very kind Hungarian signed a housing donation contract for one year, so that they only pay for utilities. When Olena and her family arrived in Hungary, her husband immediately found a job at an electronic factory. Her eldest daughter goes to a Hungarian school and learns the Hungarian language, while the twins go to the Hungarian kindergarten. Thankfully, Olena was also able to find a job at a children’s hospital for practice.

They got to know the Jesuit Refugee Service through Katalin (Ocumenicus). They met Rózsa, a volunteer from JRS and talked about what the family needed. Since then, the Jesuit Refugee Service helps them with utility bills, food vouchers for Spar, and help with buying medicines. JRS also helped Olena to get a phonendoscope for work in the hospital. “Such help is very important for us, because we are still adapting to a new life. We have lost a lot and it is difficult to start from scratch. We are very grateful that there is such an organization that supports and helps refugees feel good in every way.”, she says.

JRS is working together with the Xavier Network, Concordia Moldova, the Society of Jesus in Europe, local civil society, and NGOs in a coordinated Jesuit response. Together we help thousands of people like Veronika. You can read more about The One Proposal: the coordinated Jesuit response to support the Ukraine Crisis here.