Let's get to know - Ukrainian refugees coordinator Svetlana
46-year-old Svetlana arrived in Estonia in March 2022, accompanied by her 7-year-old son and cat Weissi. The journey on the roads was long and dangerous, there was no fuel at the gas stations and no cash in the ATMs, but thanks to the help of good people, they arrived safely: "In the first days of the war, we believed that this horror would end soon and we could return to our old lives, but every day the situation got worse. Constant alarms, lots of military equipment, soldiers, explosions and empty shelves in stores. After spending nights in the cold basement, my son fell ill. He cried and refused to hide there for the night. Then I decided that I had to leave there for the sake of my son." In the whirlwind of war horrors, Estonia offers them a safe and familiar shelter, because Svetlana spent her childhood growing up in Paldiski.
Svetlana, who has a higher education in law and worked in the Ukrainian judicial system, has a heart for helping other Ukrainians in Estonia. From the first days of her arrival, she contributed as a volunteer at the local humanitarian aid point, and very soon she was offered the position of coordinator of Ukrainian refugees in the Lääne-Harju municipal government: "I am extremely grateful that I was entrusted with this responsible job and thus I can help my compatriots who have arrived in Estonia." In cooperation with Estonian Refugee Council, she supports other Ukrainian refugees who have arrived here in Estonia with the information they need to adapt here, be it the education system, legal issues, the specifics of the digital country, or offering spiritual support. She helps to find kindergarten and school places for children and jobs for parents.
Svetlana has two sons: younger one, who started school in Estonia and an older son, who is studying IT at Vilnius University. "Although the three of us can only meet during the holidays, we value the time we spend together," said Svetlana. The family, who had already been away from Ukraine for a year, did not believe that they would have to leave their homes for so long and are eagerly waiting to be able to return to the rest of their family.