• Ruslan Gordienko from Dneprodzerzhinsk safely in kibbutz Revivim | photo: JAFI
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Only now we feel better inside… – First Home Update

Valeria - 30 March 2022

A week ago, we welcomed Olga Gordienko with her 12-year-old son Ruslan from Dneprodzerzhinsk who fled the war via the Romanian border. “We received a message about an emergency evacuation to Western Ukraine from a local synagogue on March 5. We had only two hours for making a decision. I had already packed two bags of food and clothes in case of possible airstrikes. I took my son Ruslan, and we left our city. We spent the night in a hotel in Krivoi Rog. After that we were transferred to the Ukraine Romanian border. It took us more than 24 hours. There was a huge number of people at the border. The children were afraid because of the crowd. Our group built a live chain to protect them. And it was very cold there, so my son Ruslan had his feet frozen. After crossing the border, we were met by an Israeli representative who brought us to their tent and provided us with hot meals.

“We had only two hours for making a decision”

Then we were taken to a nearby village and placed in a prayer house where we spent two days before arriving in Bucharest. It was only there when I opened my suitcase and found my husband’s things instead of mine in it. I laughed and cried at the same time. It gave me hope that he will soon join us …” Olga said.

When they were in Romania, Olga started looking for a suitable program in Israel for herself and Ruslan. She came across JAFI and Elena’s number on the Internet, and they have been in touch since then. “I spoke to Elena, and she calmed me down. I still remember her words: “First Home in the Homeland is the program with a human face.””


Olga has already started her Hebrew class | Photo: JAFI


I met Olga in Beersheba on their first day in Israel. She and Ruslan spent a week there going through the registering process and getting Israeli documents. She looked lost and didn’t understand what was going on around her. I tried to cheer her up, but all in vain. Their kibbutz Revivim coordinator named Alena was taken care of them 24/7 and it was very important for us to make them see our love and support. We wanted them to feel safe and free in their Homeland. I hope, we managed.

“Only now they feel better inside thanks to those who defend them and give them hope for the future”

According to Olga they got their new home in the Negev desert after 15 days of horror. Only now they feel better inside thanks to those who defend them and give them hope for the future.

Thanks to Christians for Israel’s assistance we have already accommodated 27 families from Ukraine in our kibbutzim and are looking forward to meeting other refugees in the near future. We, from the First Home in the Homeland team appreciate your support, especially in these dark times.

Please support the “First Home in the Homeland” Project. Any amount is welcome!
Assisting a family in the “First Home” program costs € 230 euro / US $ 250 a month.

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