CLEVELAND — Over the past few months, hundreds of Ukrainian refugees have made their way to Cleveland and now they are looking for jobs and assistance.
The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants has been assisting with that transition since day one, but they can still use more hands.
Ivan Prodanyk, his wife and two daughters are one of the millions who have left their homes in Ukraine.
“The first day we see the war, the many airplanes and Russian soldiers and we must go away,” said Prodanyk.
They first traveled to Germany and France, then four weeks ago made their way to Cleveland where they met Oksana Fartouchna with USCRI.
Over the past few months, more than 500 Ukrainian refugees have come into Cleveland due to the devastation in their cities.
“On a weekly basis, I will say we've worked with more than 80, up to 100 people a week,” said Fartouchna.
Fartouchna helps those refugees get everything while lots of her own family is still in Ukraine.
“It's absolutely heartbreaking. I don't know what's even worse, to be there or to be here in the United States without any opportunity to help them physically,” said Fartouchna.
So day in and day out she's making sure refugees like Prodanyk are equipped to start their new lives.
“Absolutely, because every single person who arrives here, I look at them and I think that that might be my aunt,” said Fartouchna.
But they need a little help.
USCRI tells News 5 they need donations, but what they really need are jobs.
“Expediting their papers, like work authorization. All these people are ready to work immediately on the second day being here in this country,” said Fartouchna.
Other things that could help include, volunteers, translating, and help with school enrollment and items like diapers and cleaning supplies.
“Guys, we have so many people who need your help. We have so many people who just need your smiles, who need just a welcoming word saying this is your country now,” said Fartouchna.
All so people like Prodanyk and his family can start their new lives.
“My daughters must have a peaceful sky and that’s why I’m here,” said Prodanyk. “All Ukrainian people want the war to finish but we don’t know when the war will finish. It’s our life and we must live day by day."
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