A Ukrainian refugee family in Guérigny, who passed through Imphy a month ago, recounts their first weeks in Nièvre

In Ukraine, Kyrylo, 21, is a student, Elena, his 19-year-old girlfriend, a barista, and his 48-year-old mother, a real estate agent. Since February 24, her life has changed. Their daily lives in their hometown of Odessa were turned upside down until they arrived in Imphy on March 15 with 13 other Ukrainian refugees before being housed in shared accommodation in Guérigny.

After a long journey, her choice of France is not due to chance. “We heard that France is preparing everything to welcome us, so we wanted to come. And at school I studied French for four years. It’s like a little dream come true to visit France. All the cities here are pretty. »

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Only the habits of Roman, the last of the family, 8 years old, haven’t changed too much. Her days are always filled with lessons and fun at school. “I don’t know how, but he can communicate with everyone and already plays with friends,” laughs his brother.

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Since their arrival, the family has repeatedly emphasized the warm welcome of the French. “We have met wonderful people at Imphy, whenever we had a question they would give us information. Pagode accompanied us every step of the way,” reports Kyrylo in fluent English. At the prefecture they receive their provisional residence permit “within one hour”.

The following week they were at the Offi in Dijon for food aid. It was just before the prefecture opened an exceptional once-a-week office to welcome Ukrainian refugees. Getting a social security number was also very quick and luckily. “We needed them,” reports the young man.

Much gratitude

The family unanimously thanks France, the associations and the people of Guérigne. “We have help with eating, clubs bring us what we need. But they also want to find work. “We need work, for our minds and our time. »

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Luckily the days are not too long. The family already has friends. “Nicole comes to us every two days and we speak Russian with David. We don’t feel alone. »

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At the moment, Kyrylo admits that they don’t know if they will return to Ukraine after the war ends. “Every day everything changes. And afterwards we want to do something good for France, which welcomed us.

Marie Lemaitre


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