With the support of the Cape community, Ukrainian refugees Tatiana and Victor Malysha have returned to their home in war-ravaged Zaporizhzhia.
Coordinated by Cooktown couple Eric and Jola George, the community has fundraised to give Tatiana and her son Victor, who has special needs, a monthly allowance while they were forced to live apart from her husband to escape fighting in Zaporizhzhia.
Despite her home town being near the front line, and the family now forced to sleep in their cellar for safety, Mr George said for Tatiana, returning home was wonderful.
“Staying in Poland was as good as the Polish government and people could make it, but there’s nowhere like home,” Mr George said.
“Things are currently difficult, with Russia doing its best to destroy the power supply and water service, but Tatiana is glad to be back with her husband.”
Tatiana and her son had been staying in the Polish town of Dzialdowo, which is long-time Cooktown local Mrs George’s home town.
The Cooktown couple coordinated the support efforts with the help of Mrs George’s brother in Poland, and in August the Georges travelled to Poland to meet Tatiana and Eric.
“It was quite an experience to meet Tatiana face to face at last,” Mr George said.
“We had shared a Zoom call with her, but that’s a poor substitute.
“There was a language problem, of course, but Tatiana has been learning Polish.
“Jola speaks Russian and Slovak – both closer to Ukrainian – so we can communicate quite happily.”
Mr George said Tatiana sent her thanks to the people of Cooktown and she would stay in touch to let everyone know how she was going.
“We have reassured Tatiana that if the war in Zaporizhzhia continues, we will raise more money to keep the monthly allowance going for as long as necessary,” he said.
“Cooktown’s generosity is very touching, both privately and from the Bowls Club, the RSL and Cooktown Creative Arts Association.”