New Beginnings at Karma Refuge

Regular readers will know that we try to bring you regular Karma Cares updates, with news of the many charitable and relief related activities around the world. Given all that’s going on, we’ll now be bringing you bi-monthly updates from Head of Philanthropy Victoria Williamson. In her first dispatch, she brings us news from Karma Refuge – and a very personal story about two Ukrainian refugees who have become fast friends with each other and with Victoria…

‘’Valerie and Lera are two Ukrainian teenagers whom I met while they and their families were staying with us at Karma Residence Normande in Normandy, France. We became friends and as a result, both girls asked me if I’d consider them coming to live with me in London – a request I was more than happy to accommodate. Valerie, 19, arrived after getting her visa processed very quickly in August last year, but as Lera is only 17 her visa took four months. As a result, the best option was for me to legally foster her. She finally joined us in November, much to our delight.

Both Valerie and Lera have settled in so well in the UK. Valerie has already found work in our local pub and has blown everyone away with how well she is doing. Lera meanwhile works in the local coffee shop and is doing great too – bear in mind, this is her first ever job and in a foreign country!

The girls’ families were both able to return to Ukraine in September 2022 and so the girls send money home to help support them. I am very conscious of how much they are dealing with mentally, being away from home for the first time is a big experience for any young person, let alone these girls who’ve been forced to leave their homeland.. However, they are absolutely loving their new London life and really thriving. They really are a great example of strength, resilience and positivity in the face of extremely challenging circumstances.‘’

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