Refugee Week Ireland 2024

17 June 2024

Copy of Refugee day 24  (1)

NCP stands in awe of the immeasurable bravery, resilience, and strength displayed by millions of displaced individuals worldwide. World Refugee Day serves as a global celebration and tribute to refugees from around the globe. It is an occasion that urges us to acknowledge the challenges they face and recognise the extraordinary contributions they make to our society.

To celebrate Refugee Week in Ireland and World Refugee Day on the 20th of June around the world, we will be sharing stories of refugees, we pay homage to their journeys and the vibrant diversity and positive difference they infuse into our world.


Tatiana’s Story

When Russia escalated its war on Ukraine to a full-scale invasion in 2022, over 6 million Ukrainians made the difficult decision to leave behind everything they had and flee their country. Since then, Ireland has welcomed more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees who are eager to seek safety and begin a new life here. Among them is NCP’s very own Tetiana Petryshyna.

Tetiana is from the Odesa region of the Ukraine. She was rising through the ranks in her office job and cherishing motherhood with her then-3-year-old son, Misha when Russia’s invasion upended their lives. Odessa became the target of Russian shelling and missile airstrikes early in the war. Tetiana was initially hesitant to leave her home, but as the weeks went on, it became clear that it was no longer safe to remain there. Tetiana, together with her mother, and her young son packed her car and escaped through the Romanian border. After a very difficult journey, which also included a few months in Turkey, they arrived in Ireland. One of the reasons Tatiana chose to come to Ireland was because she felt it would be easier to find a job in an English-speaking country.

Tetiana first arrived in Ireland at the beginning of summer 2022 and was placed in temporary accommodation provided by the government. Determined to create stability and independence for her family, she began looking for long-term accommodation, building connections, and rebuilding a new life in Ireland. Later on, after finding private rental accommodation, Tatiana started a job hunt and enrolled Misha in school, where he immediately flourished. Today in less than two years Misha speaks perfect English. He knows how to count and read. His school offers a diverse and inclusive learning environment where he has made friends from all over the world. Tetiana describes Misha with pride and warmth.

As her family settled into their new home and Misha excelled in his new school, Tetiana accepted a temporary position at Dublin Airport. Meanwhile, she saw an advertisement for NCP’s “Ukrainian Mothers Club” on social media and became an active member. Tetiana was passionate about the club from her first meeting; she loved having a community of women who shared her cultural background. She was constantly sharing information on resources for Ukrainians and valued the kinship the club provided. After a few months, the club needed a new coordinator and Tatiana became the new coordinator for the “Ukrainian Mothers Club”.

The role was a perfect fit for Tetiana. She applied her business administration experience to organise and expand the club, and her lived experience makes her the best possible person for the job. It allows her to empathize and understand precisely what members feel and what they need. Today, Tetiana’s role at NCP has grown to a full-time position. Not only Tatiana manages the “Ukrainian Mothers Club” she is also the new Community Development Coordinator in NCP. Tatiana feels lucky and thankful that she has the opportunity not only to help Ukrainian refugees in Ireland but also migrants in general through her work at NCP.

Of course, Tetiana’s journey includes more than the inspirational ascent we’ve shared today. Her mother struggled to adapt to a new culture and language at her advanced age. Despite Tetiana’s heartfelt protests, her mother ultimately chose to return to Ukraine, leaving Tetiana with a deep sense of loss and worry for her wellbeing.

Even today the trauma of the journey has left an impact on Tatiana. She often wakes from nightmares with the sounds of air raid sirens still ringing in her ears, gripped with the urge to protect Mishia. She still feels overwhelmed by a sense of danger when she reads news updates about the ongoing war.

Tetiana’s bravery, resilience, and determination have enabled her to overcome every obstacle in her path, forging a new and fulfilling life for herself and her son. Tatiana feels at home here and considers having two homes now; Ireland and Ukraine.