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Valentyna Rekkonen_edited_edited.jpg

Valentyna's Story

I was 36 years old when the war broke out. It was the first day after I left my previous job and I had high hopes for a new life. My husband and I dreamed of having a child and we were preparing for it.

But one morning, sirens went off in Lviv. My doctor cancelled my appointment and I called my mother in Kyiv. Sleepless nights began, spent in anxiety and anticipation. We hosted refugee friends, about 50 people who were passing through Lviv in transit. One of them even lived with us.

A month later, my husband organised for me to leave the country in search of safety as the situation was getting worse. With my friends, we found shelter in a village on the border with the Czech Republic and Austria, and later, we had the opportunity to move to England under the Homes for Ukraine programme.

In England, I found friends among Ukrainians and the British. My sponsor, Margaret, helped me find a job and even provided me with a piano for my music lessons. I made new friends among Ukrainians and English people in different communities and churches. I was lucky enough to play at an exhibition with English and Ukrainian artists at St Andrew's Church. It was very inspiring for all of us!

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