Svitlana Pohribna, attorney at law of the Bar Council of the Zaporizhzhia region, learned from the Telegram channel of the Ukrainian Bar Association about “Homes for Ukraine”, the initiative to find housing in the United Kingdom, and together with her daughter took advantage of this opportunity. The initiative is being implemented by the UBA together with the Bar Council of England & Wales.
Svitlana shares her emotions and experience with us:
“I learned about the war at 6 o’clock in the morning from fellow passengers on the train, when I was on my way to a court hearing at the Economic Court of the Lviv region. I immediately thought of my daughter, who studies at the full-time faculty of the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University in Kharkiv. And I immediately started buying her a ticket from Kharkiv to Zaporizhzhia, which was unsuccessful, because the tickets were sold out just in an instant.
The decision to leave Zaporizhia on March 4 was made to save my daughter, who had been sleeping on the floor in the hallway of the apartment for a week, was terrified by sirens and lost her groupmate Elya, who went to help to the Kharkiv Regional State Administration on March 1, 2022, and was killed by a rocket attack. The decision to leave was also affected by information about the hostilities that began near the Energodar NPP.
It was not difficult for me to make such a decision since recently my work has been associated with frequent business trips, and when making my decisions, I prioritize the interests of my child.
By the time we got to England, we had a long way of “wandering” through Europe. During the first three months of the war, work completely stopped, and clients did not need any legal services, so we are very grateful to all European countries that developed assistance and protection programs for those fleeing from the war. We had a choice of countries where my daughter and I could ask for protection, but we chose England primarily because we have such a level of English language that allows us to communicate with the locals and solve everyday issues. The Ukrainian Bar Association helped us a lot – we found sponsors who sheltered us and were happy to support us in the rather bureaucratic Great Britain in any issues.
From the middle of the summer of 2022, my work started to recover. Although not in such volume, I continue to engage in my professional activities. I devote my free time, which was not enough before, to improve my qualifications. I am very grateful to my colleagues for systematic webinars, and for sharing their interesting and useful experiences.
My dream of learning English and using it in professional activities began to be realized gradually. We would not like dreams to come true in such ways, but it does not depend on us, so we must not stand still and should use the chances that are given to us. First of all, my plans for the future are related to a free, independent Ukraine! I am proud of my country and my people, and I think we have such strong support all over the world thanks to the indomitability, bravery, and courage of the Ukrainian people!
And finally, I want to add that in such difficult times, you especially appreciate those who were near and helped so much. I would like to express my gratitude to the Ukrainian Bar Association and the Bar Association of England and Wales, that supported and continue to support Ukrainian lawyers and do not leave them alone with their problems. Our disaster is not over, but we are sure we will overcome everything, because we have real friends and can count on them,” said Svitlana.
Please note that all Ukrainian lawyers who are forced to leave their homes due to the military invasion of Russia can use the housing search program. The implementation of this project is conducted within the framework of cooperation between the UBA and the Bar Association of England and Wales, aimed at the development of dialogue, solidarity, and support between the lawyers of England, Wales and Ukraine.
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