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Why should I fundraise for Red Cross?
You will be fundraising for people like Maryna.
This is her story about her journey from Kharkiv to Perth in search of safety.
“Thank you, Australia, for giving me hope, a new home, and reminding me no matter where we come from, we can build a better tomorrow together.”
Maryna lived with her two children in Kharkiv, a city in the northeastern part of the Ukraine close to the Russian border where she “worked as a sales manager, and my life was happy and nice.”
Then the international armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine escalated, and on 24 February, 2022, their city was bombed.
"We woke up at 5am with sounds of explosions … Nobody believed it could happen…The first thing I thought was, ‘How do I protect my children?”
With the airports closed, Maryna found a driver who agreed to help them escape. "He picked us up with our pets, a cat and a dog, and took us to Bulgaria…The trip was extremely scary, but staying in Ukraine was even scarier.”
In Bulgaria, it was hard to get any help. After four months she couldn’t get a job and her daughter couldn’t attend school . Her savings were quickly depleted on short-term housing and food. She found a soccer academy in Germany that agreed to enrol her son Alex for free as a Ukrainian refugee, but Maryna felt “lost, but I had to find a way.”
A childhood friend living in Perth told Maryna about the Australian Government’s support for Ukrainian refugees and encouraged her to come. She made the incredibly hard decision to leave her daughter with her grandparents in Bulgaria and travel to Australia in search of work and safety for the both of them. "It was my last chance…This decision played on every emotion a mother could possibly have, but I knew it was for the best."
In July 2022 Maryna arrived in Perth and was granted a humanitarian visa. "Red Cross helped me settle into Australia. The team was very supportive, caring and helpful."
We provided Maryna with temporary accommodation, helped her enrol in English classes and register for healthcare and other government services. We also helped her to find a full-time job with WorkCover WA.
Maryna’s colleagues have since become like family, and have helped her find a house to rent, bring her daughter to Australia and much more. "I’m grateful for every day I spend at work. The warmth and acceptance from my colleagues allowed me to rebuild my life, restore my hope, and dream of a brighter future.”
“My deepest gratitude to Australian Red Cross, WorkCover WA and the Government. Thank you for your support, belief in the potential of refugees, and commitment to creating a society that thrives on diversity and inclusivity.”
Australian Red Cross is part of the global Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, operating on the ground in 192 countries. Our teams support people in the countries they flee, the places they pass through, and the ones they arrive in. We support without judgement or conditions, helping those who need us most, no matter where they come from.
Find out how you can help create a more welcoming Australia for refugees, and others made vulnerable by migration.
Australian Red Cross supported Maryna through the Humanitarian Settlement Program. The program is delivered with the help of funding from the Department of Home Affairs.