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MU lends helping hand to Ukraine

When the war in Ukraine started a year ago, Masaryk University immediately responded to the situation and started providing assistance to Ukrainian students, employees and their families through the MUNI HELPS Volunteer Centre and other means. In addition to students, Ukrainian employees have also found a safe haven at MU. Read the stories of four of them.

Ukrainian students and employees have found a safe haven at MU. On the photo from the left: building management employee Oleksandra Lototska, student Andrii Samoilenko, student Lidiia Andriichuk and researcher Alla Moskalets.

Oleksandra Lototska, building management employee, Faculty of Economics and Administration
My husband and I moved to Brno four years ago. When the war started in the spring of last year, our two daughters came to stay with us, one of them with her small daughter. After a few months here, she returned to Ukraine because she has a house and a husband there. My youngest daughter, who works with me at the Faculty of Economics and Administration, stayed with us in Brno. I’m very happy that the university gave her and me a chance to find a job and we really appreciate being able to stay here. We have a great boss, friendly colleagues and good people around us.

My grandmother always told me: I wish you never learn what war is like. Unfortunately, we know that now. But I never expected to live to see something like this in the 21st century, and I definitely wouldn’t have expected the war to be brought to us by Russia.

I’m terribly sad that this is happening, and I wish for it to end as soon as possible. So many people have already died, including young men from our village – no one knows where they are. And it’s all so completely pointless. Such a shame. But I am very grateful that Ukraine has the president it has today. And I firmly believe that Ukraine will be victorious soon.

Andrii Samoilenko, student, Faculty of Economics and Administration
I am a second-year student at Masaryk University and I used to pay for my studies mainly thanks to my parents’ contributions. However, they lost their jobs at the beginning of the war and because of the government’s measures against capital flight, they couldn’t even send me money for rent and food in Brno. Then Masaryk University stepped in and helped me in this difficult situation – without the special scholarship I have been receiving since March, I could hardly have continued my studies.

I am very grateful to the university and to the Czech Republic for all the help they provide to Ukraine. My family has had a very difficult time. My dad works as a military doctor and helps to treat wounded soldiers. My mother and my girlfriend moved in here with me to be safe during the first three months of the war. Then they both returned home to Kyiv. My girlfriend has even returned to her studies at the University of Kyiv by now. The war changed our lives a lot, it is a very difficult period for everybody. That is why I really appreciate all the help Ukrainians have been receiving from all over the world.

Lidiia Andriichuk, student, Faculty of Arts
I will be finishing my Bachelor’s degree at the Faculty of Arts this year. I really enjoy the mandatory internships, thanks to which I got to work at the Moravian Gallery in Brno and gained experience in the field. I continue working there part-time and I owe Masaryk University most of all for this great opportunity.

But I am grateful to the university even more for supporting us Ukrainian students since the beginning of the war and for helping us cover our expenses with a special scholarship. Our parents have always supported our studies financially, but because of the war in Ukraine, they found themselves in a tough spot. No one has it easy now.

I come from a military family, my dad has worked in the army all his life and is currently actively engaged in national defence. Mum has had two heart attacks past year due to the stress the war has brought us. It has been very painful to watch from a distance everything that has been going on at home for almost a year. The tangible support from my friends and other people really helps me a lot and gives me the strength to continue.

Alla Moskalets, researcher, Faculty of Education
For ten years, I worked in Ukraine in an ABA centre with children with autism spectrum disorders and related disorders. In the beginning, the centre was based in Donetsk, but from there we had to move to Mariupol in 2014 because of the war. In March, however, Mariupol was destroyed and we had to run from there as well.

Fortunately, at that time I was already working with colleagues from the Faculty of Education at Masaryk University who offered me to move my research to MU, for which I was extremely grateful. So in April, I came to Brno with my mother and daughter, who is now studying molecular biology and genetics at the MU Faculty of Science.

I am currently employed at the Institute for Research in Inclusive Education at the MU Faculty of Education, where I am working on applied behavioural analyses and at the same time working on my dissertation. However, my husband had to stay in Ukraine as a soldier and so did my son, who takes care of children with autism in Kyiv. It’s very hard to have them so far away, but we are in daily contact. We are otherwise doing well in Brno, my colleagues at work are extremely nice, help me with everything and are always there for me. I really appreciate all the help from my colleagues and the university, which helps us cope in this difficult time.