Ukrainian refugee praises support received settling family near Bedford

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She worked as a doctor but has now retrained as a maths teacher

A refugee who fled Ukraine with her two children after the Russia invasion has praised the support she has received to find work.

Olena Gorenkova – who now lives in Maulden with her two children aged 17 and 12 – worked as a doctor in Ukraine and managed a pharmaceutical business.

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However, due to the long and complicated process to confirm her diploma, obtain a licence and complete additional training as a doctor in the UK, she has decided to change career and train as a maths teacher.

Olena Gorenkova with her familyOlena Gorenkova with her family
Olena Gorenkova with her family

Olena has received invaluable support from Bedford Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support (BRASS) as well as the East of England Local Government Association’s Strategic Migration Partnership.

“I fell in love with British kindness towards Ukrainians in this awful situation and their heartfelt willingness to give support,” she said.

“Sharif and all the BRASS team, including my personal supporter Helena, have helped me so much.

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“They guided me with applying to ESOL language courses and driving theory classes as well.

“I feel very grateful for their patience, kindness and dedication in trying to help me and my family to settle in the UK.”

While Olena and her family are settling into life in the UK, her husband remains in Ukraine, serving in the army.

Olena is now a sponsor for her husband, who comes to visit his family when on leave.

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She is currently studying for her upcoming IELTS English language exams, which will enable her to apply for postgraduate university programmes for maths teaching.

Thanks to the support of BRASS, she now has a full driving licence, something she says has given her ‘independence and flexibility’.

“In the future I want to give back and contribute as a maths teacher to British society,” she said.

“While I miss Ukraine deeply, I have found Britain very welcoming and am grateful to all who have helped me and my family.”

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Sharif Dorani, from BRASS, said: “There are many refugees like Olena across the country who have been forced to flee their home countries and just need a helping hand gaining employment in the UK.

“Finding employment can help people to settle in the UK, supporting them in gaining financial independence and to feel part of the community in which they live.

“We are delighted with how Olena and her family are getting on and wish her the best of luck with her upcoming exams.”

For more information on BRASS, see here and for more on the Strategic Migration Partnership’s current and new employability projects, visit Well-being and Work for Refugee Integration Project-EELGA SMP - EELGA SMP and EON - EELGA SMP

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