Seine-et-Marne: A family from Ukraine finds refuge in the Pays de l’Ourcq

In the center of the village of Crouy-sur-Ourcq, the huge hostel opened its doors to the Ukrainian family
In the center of the village of Crouy-sur-Ourcq, the huge hostel opened its doors to the Ukrainian family (©La Marne)

They are twelve, twelve members of the same family who have found refuge Crouy sur Ourcq (Seine et Marne). Without speaking a word of French, it was Mâcha, their guide, who summarized their trip: “They come from Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, which had 1,421,125 inhabitants. The city was bombed by the Russian army. Her apartment had no more windows, no more water. The family left the city for Poland on March 7, taking with them two dogs and a cat.

For four days the family crossed Ukraine in three cars and then arrived in Poland. However, as this receiving country was overwhelmed by the number of refugees, the group headed for Germany, where they encountered the same difficulties. So the convoy went to France. They were taken care of on March 14 in the town of Bois-le-Roi.

“The situation has become critical”

In Ukraine, the whole family lived in apartments and worked in textiles, in the manufacture of clothes, they even had their own local brand.

These are today six women, two men and four children who joined the Crouyciennes countries.

We had hoped to be away for two weeks until things calmed down, but the situation has become critical. As soon as things get better, our biggest wish is to go back to the country.

A refugee family member

Many family members stayed in Ukraine, especially a mother-in-law or a sister in Odessa with her three children.

Welcomed with open arms by the residents of Crouy-sur-Ourcq

On Wednesday, April 6th, the refugees were welcomed by the community and volunteers. “It was City Councilor Jean-Claude Offroy who submitted this project to welcome refugees. The City Council voted unanimously minus one vote. The shared accommodation was free and we started a fundraiser on social media. And there we found an incredible outpouring of generosity “ underline Stéphanie Goblet and Martine Godé, members of the municipal council, and Martine Offroy, volunteers.

After registering on the website for displaced persons from Ukraine as a community, the community received a quick response.

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A tremendous outpouring of generosity in this small village

Donations of blankets, clothing, basic needs, hygiene and food have arrived. The refrigerators were filled, the volunteers furnished the rooms, the heating was turned on again, all that remained was to wait in great distress for the dozen people.

The village baker has joined this generosity and will offer the refugees three loaves of bread a day for as long as they stay at the lodge.

During Jean-Claude Offroy’s welcome speech, some women could not contain their emotion and hot tears ran down their cheeks.

The Ukrainian family could not find the words to thank the population for this warm welcome. A rather funny little note about a councilor Emmanuel Hergot who speaks Russian: “His quiet life is over, we will take him to work”, they will actually need him to translate the exchanges, which will be many.

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