The refugees had hoped to return to Ukraine by Easter

My three year old son had a health problem when we arrived in BeverenSays TaniaAnd a few people who were completely strangers to us just a moment ago immediately started calling to arrange a doctor’s visit for us† It was Saturday night, any government agency would be appropriate and I asked the Ukrainians to come back on Monday… and then it would have taken some time. But these peopleAs Tanya says, Who we now know have another job and are working so hard, suddenly save all the time needed to call them crazy. And the next day we can already go to the doctor

The best part is that these people are constantly working as a team and can therefore help us very quickly. Tania

Saint Egidio

Tania and Yulia Two daughters from Cherkassy, ​​a large regional city located 180 kilometers southeast of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. They both have a ten-year-old daughter and a younger son who is five and three years old, respectively. They are two of the forty Ukrainian refugee families – together about 150 people – from Sant’Egidio . Community Currently in our country. Our reception is very personalSays Lina Binglea Ukrainian who has been living in Belgium for some time and is coordinating the project for the Saint Egidios community. This is important, because you can immediately respond to any problem.

The Sint-Egidius community has succeeded in creating tailor-made solutions for all these people through its extensive network.

air raid shelters

Immediately after the Russian invasion, the two daughters of the Circassians left at the end of February to take shelter with Yulia’s mother in a village ten kilometers outside the city. But since there were constantly sirens, and therefore they de facto lived with children in air raid shelters, they decided to travel to Western Ukraine, where at that time it was still calm. It was a very difficult decisionYulia says, Which we took with each of our husbands. Of course we didn’t want to leave our men, but we couldn’t leave our children living in such conditions

We ran for the kids. Tania and Yulia

car ride

When Lviv – close to the Polish border – was also bombed, the nieces decided to move to the West. Yulia’s sister happened to be on vacation in Slovakia with two of her three children during the Russian invasion. Therefore, her son-in-law withdrew to Ukraine to take the third child and grandparents and bring them to Slovakia. The next day, he drove with Tanya, Yulia, their four children and as few things as possible to leave in the car, through Poland, Germany and the Netherlands to Belgium. Lina grew up in our neighborhood at that time and I kept in touch with her on FacebookJulia says. She had promised to provide shelter. But I would never have dreamed that we would be so well received on the evening of Saturday 12th March

Our guests in our house are guests in our hearts. Eric van Alsenoy

Eric and Marcela

Sympathetic to Saint Egidio, Eric van Alsenoyhas lived in his country house on the coast since the Corona crisis and announced that he wants to make his large apartment in Beveren in Waasland, which was empty all the time, available to Ukrainian families. How they turned that apartment into a home for two families during our car trip in one, two or three, with beds suitable for four young children, I still find it wonderfulTanya laughs. Eric also talked to his neighbor Marcela Sui who runs a freelance business on the ground floor of the building. I’ve known Eric for thirty yearssays Marcella. He asked me if I wanted to help these people.

I had two weeks off and didn’t plan anything; It turned out to be the best vacation of my life. Marcela Sui


I have installed a collection box in my shopMarcella says, And countless of my clients were very happy to help† Meanwhile, both young mothers reside in Beveren with their children, and Tanja already works part-time as an “interpreter” at the global level for refugees being received at the Red Cross Center in the municipality. The four children already go to school in Beveren. Coincidentally, a Moldovan girl was there for some time and became the children’s companion because she could speak Russian with them† We personally had no problems with the Russians, we even had acquaintances in Russia. Even though it’s getting tough now, they’re being brainwashed by the system

One of the girls created blogs on the Internet in Russian, but since the war she has done so only in Ukrainian.

Air raid sirens

No matter how anxious children who walk may be, the impact of all this cannot be underestimated. I even shivered with fear when I heard a plane flying over here in FlandersAs Tanya says. For eight years – since the downing of a Boeing 777 carrying more than two hundred passengers from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur – Ukrainian airspace has been closed to foreign flights. And since the end of February, aircraft engines mean: sirens and air raids! The children had to get used to not having to run to an air raid shelter just by hearing a sound in the sky. Of course, in their own way, they are well aware of what is going on

When the younger father calls on the phone, he immediately asks if the situation is calm and if he can go home. Yulia

Easter Holiday

Last week, a girl’s 10th birthday was celebrated in Beveren. We were hoping to come home this ChristmasAs Tanya says, And then with the Orthodox Easter which we will celebrate tomorrow. And now we all count on May 9, the day Russia celebrates victory after World War IIJulia says. Doesn’t Vladimir Putin want his war to be over by then? The ladies are aware, as they have said, that it may take longer, but they wish to go home as soon as possible, to their husbands, to their country. They mainly fear that this will turn into a “frozen conflict”, and that the war will stop, as happened in Syria.

When will the Russians open their eyes, Putin’s propaganda has lulled them to sleep for more than twenty years. Yulia


Being able to help people concretely, as Eric, Lena and Marcela do, is a great gift. All this makes me feel so warmsays Marcella. My son has no children, and suddenly I have four grandchildren at once† There are also very grateful feelings among Ukrainians during the Easter period, but there is no exuberant festive mood. After all, with the exception of the Putin factor, none of them understand how it can come to this. We never saw Russians as enemiesAs Tanya says emphatically. Even Bucha’s executioners are just actors in Putin’s theater† And what about the tension between the different Orthodox churches, Ukrainian Orthodox and Russian Orthodox?

Although Ukrainians are Orthodox, all our children are baptized into Russian Orthodox churches; After the war that is no longer possible. Tania

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