“Coming to Ireland was a miracle but I want to give something back to my friends and family in Ukraine”


A Ukrainian woman said fleeing to Ireland with her three daughters was “a miracle” and now she wants to give back to friends and family who are still in the war-torn country.

Etiana Pankiv (39) and her three daughters Sophia (16), Marta (15) and five year old Yana live in Tullow, Co. Carlow with their host Jacqui McNabb and her husband and daughter.

The two families joined forces after Ms Pankiv met a man at Dublin Airport who said Ms McNabb might be able to help her.

The Carlow woman said she had no doubts about taking her in.

Ms Pankiv said she couldn’t be more grateful for Ireland’s support but decided to start a sunflower seed company called Sow Now so she can give back to those who are still around Ukraine.

The seeds will be packed by Ms Pankiv and 40 other Ukrainian refugees whom she met along with 200 other volunteers at the Tullow Family Centre.

They will be sold in SuperValu, Centra and some other independent stores from next Friday April 29, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to the Irish Red Cross Crisis Appeal in Ukraine.

“Not everyone has the ability to host, but what they can do is sow the seeds,” Ms McNabb said. “I hear people say every day, ‘The news is terrible, I wish there was something I could do’ — and you can.

“You can get your seeds packaged by these Ukrainian women and the money goes straight to supporting loved ones back home.

“Planting the seed is a sign of solidarity.”

Ms Pankiv added: “Any woman who stays here in Ireland wants to support the people of Ukraine and feel useful – everyone wants to give back.”

She said it was “a miracle” to find a home in Ireland because she doesn’t know anyone here.

“It was like a miracle because it happened so quickly. I came here and I have a house and I’m safe and Jacqui and all the other Irish guys helped me with all the documents,” she said.

“The girls are going to school and me and my kids are safe and it happened so quickly.

“We have such great support and we thank the people of this city. It is very nice to feel this help from the people.”

Ms. Pankiv still has many friends and family in her home country, including her husband and mother.

“My husband is still there, my sister and her family, my mother, my husband’s parents are also there, they are still in our city.”

She added that her husband is learning to fight in Lviv, in western Ukraine, and although she tries to speak to him every day, she is always uncertain when she will next speak to him. “Coming to Ireland was a miracle but I want to give something back to my friends and family in Ukraine”

Fry Electronics Team

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