Mrs Olga arrived in Greece leaving Ukraine behind when the war broke out. She travelled by bus, with no particular destination, only to find safety at a time when hostilities were destroying the town where she lived. He arrived in Thessaloniki almost by chance, in a country she had never visited before and had no friends, relatives or acquaintances.
Upon arriving in Thessaloniki, she contacted the Help Desk for the displaced population from Ukraine, at the Open Polyclinic of Doctors of the World. After her health condition was examined, in cooperation with the local consular authorities of Ukraine, she was referred to the Open Accommodation Center “A Step Forward”.
Since the beginning of her stay at the Open Accommodation Centre, she has been supported according to her needs. Mrs. Olga has difficulties with her hearing and vision and before coming to Greece, she lived in a state-run shelter for the disabled in Ukraine. As she does not speak a second language, she needed an interpreter to communicate with others. Having experienced the devastation of war, uprooting and being in an unfamiliar place, everything looked like a nightmare scenario for her.
With the assistance of a tablet given to her, her communication gradually became easier with the use of a translation app and in this way, Mrs Olga began to regain independence in her communication. She began to participate in meetings with the other women hosted, in activities of the accommodation center and also to develop trusting relationships through group activities.
At the same time, through the Open Accommodation Center, she received psychosocial support, medical examinations to reassess her hearing and vision problems, and has already started sign language classes learning some basic communication skills such as the days of the week, numbers, some verbs to meet her needs and some areas of the city.
“I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here, nor where I’ll be next. I miss Ukraine very much, but I don’t know when I will return. But I do know that as long as people take care of each other, as long as they reach out only to give you and not to take, I will be in a good place.”