BOSTON (WHDH) – According to the United Nations, roughly 11 million Ukrainians have left home so far in search of safety elsewhere.
Many have gone to nearby Poland but some, like Iryna Hospodaryk and three of her daughters, have made the much longer trek to the United States. The family reunited at Boston Logan Airport Thursday night.
Near baggage claim, Hospodaryk and her daughter Olena embraced for the first time in what felt like a long time.
“I’m so happy because all my daughters are near me,” she said.
Three days after Russia invaded, the mother of four made the difficult decision to leave with her girls. They made it to Poland, then to France, but when they tried to come to the US, she said her elder two daughters had visa troubles.
“So she took her two younger daughters. She decided to go to the United States. She was praying and hoping the older daughter would find her way,” said Olga Lisovskaya, the managing partner of the Sky International Center Newton
Her prayers were answered thanks to Lisovskaya’s team and the people behind the Be Kind Needham organization.
For the Sky International Center’s founder and CEO, Natasha Sky, Hospodaryk’s story hit home. She too was born and raised in Ukraine and actually grew up with Hospodaryk who now needed her help.
“When you’re friends in school in Ukraine, the friendship is so meaningful that people keep in touch for years,” she said.
So Sky, and people all across the Newton and Needham communities, found Hospodaryk and her two younger daughters a home. They have also spent the last two months filling Sky’s garage with donations for the people of Ukraine.
“I think eventually people will move on, but the war is not stopping, unfortunately,” said Sky. “That’s why we’re here two months later. It matters a lot to all of us.”
It matters especially to Olena whose flight to Boston was covered entirely by donations from community members here in Massachusetts.
“It was stress but I’m happy,” she said. “I’m with my family.”
Her mom is overcome with emotion thinking of the community’s support for her and her girls.
“That’s why I leave Ukraine when the war was starting because I want to bring them to a place where they can be like children,” Hospodaryk said. “I’m happy my children now have this life.”
Hospodaryk’s other daughter is safe in Canada now.
Anyone interested in helping Sky in her endeavors to help Ukrainians is urged to reach out to Sky Philanthropy here.
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