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Refugee Stories: Olha

Please be aware that the interviewee talks about the impact of traumatic events of her refugee journey. Teacher discretion is advised.
Length - 06:53
Published - Jun 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

Sixteen-year-old Olha’s life in Ukraine is shattered by war, forcing her to flee to Poland with her younger brother. As she navigates the fear and uncertainty of being a refugee, she is touched by the kindness of strangers. Despite the chaos, Olha clings to her dreams of returning home and helping to rebuild her country, finding solace in her favorite book and music.

Refugee Stories: Olha

Olha: My name is Olha and I'm 16 years old, I'm from Ukraine. Now I'm living in Ivano Frankvisk City with my mum, dad and younger brother and my dog. I started learning taekwondo at first class of the school. Um, because I think it's it's great to to do sports and you can improve yourself. It gives me positive, only positive emotions. I can go to the competition and win some rewards. And it's it's great feeling. Before the war, I want to compete and get a black belt. But now I can't do this and I'm just staying at at one level. After the beginning of the war. I hear very loud noises and I. I realised that my parents are not at home. Uh, only me and my younger brother and my dog. Uh, my mum calls me and tell you should take your, uh, warm things and your, uh, items of clothes and your brother and you and documents. And you should go to the basement. And then they said to me that I should went to the Poland with my brother, with my grandparents. When I come to Poland, I met, uh, a lot of refugee who was living just at the bus station or train station. And when I understand that, I'm a refugee, too. I was so scared. It means just, um, other people in other countries. This word is so symbolic to me. When you are a refugee, you move to another country. And you don't know anything about that, about, uh, people, about nature or culture and etc and you don't know where you should go, where you should leave, what you should to eat. But, um, when I moved to Poland, there are a lot of people, very kind people who just help us. When it starts, everybody thinks that not long it will be maybe two weeks, maybe one month. I hope that it would stop so, so quickly, but I know it. It wouldn't. The main reason why they start war. They want to take our part of Ukraine just to expand their territory. When the war starts, leave Ukraine and went to Poland. But now I'm here in Ukraine and I don't want to leave it anymore. So I hope I would live here.


I would work here and build my future here in Ukraine. I have words to describe this feeling. When you can't do your normal routine, your normal things that you do before. Now me and my friends and my parents and my younger brother. We can't just, just walk. Just be happy like it was before the war. Because we can we can sit at the restaurant and we can hear that alert. Before War we was so cheerful, but now I can't. I can see people happy. I can see people love laughing. And I think it's just war because our people, they think only about war. How to stop it? I feel so scary. Especially when it's at night when you're sleeping and you just sleep normally and you, you hear this alert, this loud noises, and you can't continue your sleep, your dream, but you just should to go to the basement and sleep there. It feels so, so scary when I hear the alerts I take also my book, my favorite book. And also I take my headphones, headphones, music and books helps me to reduce my stress level. My school is located at city center and that too many schools opposite next to my school. And it's terrifying to study at city center because attacks can be also at our city. We just go to the basement and that's all our backpacks, our jackets, our all our things. We are leaving them at our classes. Of course, I see my future in the Ukraine because I want to rebuild our country and I hope that, um, the future of Ukraine will be so good and fantastic and we will be the most kind country. And I hope that Ukraine will stop the war and we get back our territory. And all of it, uh, would stop. Of course, I love to cry. It's my country, my loved country. I don't want to leave my my Ukraine.