“We only wanted to escape the shelling”, Tetiana’s story

08 November 2022|JRS Europe

Before the war, Tetiana worked as a dentist in Kharkiv, a city in the North-East of Ukraine less than 50 km away from the Russian border. War came fast to her hometown and for the first few days she took refuge with her daughter in a basement. However, soon she had to flee.

“On March 3, my daughter and I fled Kharkiv as it was extremely difficult and nervous to live in the basement. We got on an overcrowded train to Lviv. The train was really crammed with people; so many that you could hardly get to the bathroom.  But we didn’t care about how we had to travel. We only wanted to escape the shelling”, she recalls of the days fleeing.  Thankfully, she was received with open arms by her Polish neighbours. “When we finally got to the border, we didn’t even expect to cross it so quickly and be treated so friendly”.

Tetiana is now living together with her sister, who also had to flee Kharkiv since the full-scope invasion, and their children in Nowy Sącz, Poland. Fortunately, the hospitality of Poland she had experienced at the borders was mirrored once settled inside. “In Poland, I have received lots of help from different organizations which I am grateful for from the bottom of my heart. It has given me a chance to stay on firm ground”, she highlights.

A little bit more settled right now, Tetiana is starting to plan her next steps, and key in that future is recovering her professional life as a dentist. “I have already received the proof for the recognition of my diploma here and now I am employed at one of the dental clinics. I have to work under supervision for three months though, but in three months I will be entitled to work independently and for that, I need to learn the language. Thanks to JRS I am now attending Polish courses”, she explains. Soon Tetiana will be able to work as an independent dentist in Nowy Sącz, where she is planning to stay.

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 Tetiana. You can read more about The One Proposal: the coordinated Jesuit response to support the Ukraine Crisis here.