Finding a New Home, and New Hope, After Leaving Ukraine
“What am I going to do with the child?” she asked herself. If Russians occupied the city, how would she evacuate Arsenii and his wheelchair? She packed and left her parents and brother behind.
The three bundled into a taxi and traveled by car to Romania. Ms. Chyianova often had to stop the car to change Arsenii’s pads.
“In one day, our life got crossed out,” she said through an interpreter.
They moved from place to place — from Romania to Belgium, on through Poland and Germany. They eventually reached Tijuana, joining some of the thousands of Ukrainians to enter the United States through its border with Mexico.
“We got through it because there was no other way,” she said.
Finally, in April, they reached New York City. They lived with a cousin for a while, then with a family friend. The Marks JCH provided her with money for food, which she used to cook for the whole family.
After months living in tight quarters, Ms. Chyianova received help from the center to get her own apartment. Money was drawn from The Fund to pay her May rent: $1,827, not including heat and gas. In the months since, a donor has helped them get by.
“Americans are kind and responsive people,” Ms. Chyianova said, adding, “I’m not sure how we would survive otherwise. Realistically, I cannot pay rent even using the benefits I am receiving.”
UJA-Federation received a $100,000 grant from The Fund to respond to the crisis in Ukraine. Over all, UJA-Federation has allocated more than $16 million to the response, aiding more than 720,000 Ukrainians including nearly 240,000 refugees.