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Ukrainian refugees in the Valley share their stories

Refugees share their stories at the Ukraine Night of Hope.
Refugees share their stories at the Ukraine Night of Hope.(WHSV)
Published: May. 26, 2022 at 11:16 PM EDT
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Ukrainians escaping the war have landed in all corners of the United States, including more than a dozen in the Shenandoah Valley.

Village to Village, a local non-profit, is working to raise money for those families. It held a Ukraine Night of Hope at the Barn at Mill Creek. People enjoyed music, Ukrainian food, and a silent auction.

“Tonight is just the beginning of what we’re doing to get these families paid for,” Heidi Dove, the Executive Director of Village to Village said. “With these families, they have to get paperwork done and filed, which costs a lot of money. Per family, it’s between $2,000 and $4,000 to get the paperwork and attorneys they need to start jobs, get their kids, and get the things they need.”

Over 120 tickets were sold for Thursday’s event, plus the refugee families. Several of them shared their story of fleeing Ukraine and arriving in Virginia with the crowd.

“We thought we would gather at the church, pray and then decide what to do, return home and grab things, but we never returned home,” one refugee said.

One woman was asked what future she sees for herself and her children.

“The situation in Ukraine has taught us to live in the current day, in the moment,” she said.

Yurii and Yulia Chernychenko fled Uman, Ukraine in February after a friend phoned them from Harrisonburg, inviting them and their three young children to come to the Shenandoah Valley. Yurii said they packed up their belongings in 20 minutes and then drove to the border.

“We traveled two months. It wasn’t easy, but thank God we’re here. A lot of people helped us to get here,” Yurii said.

Yurii said his friends and family have fled Ukraine too, but not his parents.

“They don’t want to leave because they live their whole life in their house and town. They can’t understand how to leave, they can’t imagine,” he said.

For more information on Village to Village, click here.

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