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“We want to give them new, happy memories of Ireland,” Ukrainian children enjoy a family fun day

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More than 120 Ukrainian children who experienced the horrors of war and were forced to flee their homes were able to be children again at a family day in Sandyford, Dublin.

he children aged 5 to 16 got to enjoy the Jump Zone indoor trampoline sports park today after being rented especially for them by secondary school teacher Jackie Durbin.

She said she wanted to give “new, happy memories here in Ireland” to the many Ukrainian refugee children who are crammed into hotel rooms and have nowhere to go.

Among those attending the event was mother of four, Antonina Anis, who shared her joy at seeing her children happy again since arriving in Ireland.

“When I see my children smiling again, I feel like a new person.

“It is so important for us to know that our children are safe and secure, that they have a place to sleep and that they continue their education and most importantly have a childhood and happiness.”

In early March, Antonina left Ukraine with her children. Her youngest child is one year old.

Her husband was unable to travel to Ireland with them, but she hopes they will be reunited soon.

“I’m home alone with the kids, my husband couldn’t come. He is not a citizen of Ukraine, so he has returned to his own country, but we are preparing the documents for his required visa and hope to be reunited soon.”

Oleksandra Babich, a 21-year-old journalism graduate, came to the event with her brother after seeing how many Ukrainian teenagers have been struggling since moving here.

“It’s really nice to see the younger kids being happy and even the older kids who are 16 or 17 years old are really having fun.

“I see a lot of teenagers at school and they’re really struggling, they’re so scared and sad because we’re watching the news about Ukraine all the time.”

Oleksandra fled her homeland of Chernihiv, the Ukrainian city closest to the Russian border, after the war broke out.

She previously spent a year at the University of Limerick and decided to travel to Ireland with her brother.

“I studied at the University of Limerick three years ago on my Erasmus year, that’s why I brought my brother here because I knew it was a wonderful place.

“Back in Ukraine sometimes people aren’t that nice and when we came to Ireland we couldn’t believe how people can be so nice and nice for no reason. I was so surprised.”

Her parents remain in Ukraine as her mother decided to stay with her father and move closer to the Polish border.

“My mum flies back and forth because she wants to be with us but also with our dad so she travels a lot because she can’t stay here and be happy and she can’t stay there and be happy. So yes, we are separated and unfortunately I haven’t seen my father for two months now.”

Jackie said she wanted to do something for Ukrainians living in Ireland.

“I just thought there were so many Ukrainians living here in Ireland who deserved something to make them happy, especially the children.

“I’m a secondary school teacher so I’m very aware of the mental health issues of teenagers and that gives them a break from what they’re going through to have some fun.”

Her friend Collette Talbot, who helped out that day, has been helping Ukraine and has traveled there three times in the last few months to take people across the border. She will travel there again on Friday in hopes of bringing more refugees across the border.

“I’m here, but my heart is in Ukraine,” she said.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/we-want-to-give-them-new-happy-memories-in-ireland-ukrainian-children-enjoy-family-fun-day-41640488.html “We want to give them new, happy memories of Ireland,” Ukrainian children enjoy a family fun day

Fry Electronics Team

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