Faces of The Fellowship: Andri, Iryna, and Oleksi

 |  February 17, 2016

Andri, Iryna, and Oleski--a family of three all whom are IFCJ recipients.

Moving to Israel was the culmination of a dream Andri and his wife, Iryna, had been considering for a long time. “I studied law in Ukraine,” says Andri. “I worked in the Attorney General’s office, then worked in logistics for a large company. My wife worked as an accountant. But we felt that something was missing in our lives.”

Many of their friends had already made aliyah (immigrated to Israel).“There was also the consideration of the war that’s going on in Ukraine,” Andri says. “We finally decided that it was time to come home to Israel. We knew things would be difficult, but despite it all, we feel safe and secure in our new home.” They moved to Israel on The Fellowship’s second Freedom Flight in December 2014, along with their 9-year-old son, Oleksi.

When asked what the best thing was upon arrival in Israel, Andri answers without hesitation, “We were surprised by how helpful everyone in our neighborhood has been. Everything you see in this apartment – the couch, the chairs, our beds – was given to us by people in the neighborhood. After we had settled in here, The Fellowship asked if we needed anything. I showed them all we had and said that maybe there are other families who need the help more than we do.”

Both Andri and Iryna understand the importance of hard work and are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed in their new home. “A few weeks after we arrived in Israel, we started studying Hebrew,” says Andri. “I attended classes in the morning, worked as a sorter in a supermarket in the afternoon, and studied during the evenings and at night.” After Andri completed the first 6 months of Hebrew studies, he began working on the assembly line at a beverage company.

Iryna is as hardworking and determined to succeed as Andri. “I work as a caretaker for an older couple. At some point I’ll be working as an accountant, but for now, this is what I need to do.”

Andri acknowledges that they still miss Ukraine. “That’s where we grew up,” he says. “We still have friends and family there. It’s difficult to leave everything you ever knew behind. But we know we made the right decision. This is where we see our future. ”

When asked about the security situation in Israel, Andri says, “The biggest difference between Ukraine and Israel is the sense of security we feel here. Here in Israel, Oleksi’s in a dance class and a class for gifted children. He goes by himself and we don’t think about it twice.”

Andri and Iryna tell The Fellowship’s donors, “We’re grateful for all of the help and support you have given us. We tell all of our friends in Ukraine who are consideringaliyah, they should do it through The Fellowship. They helped us at every stage of the process. Thank you very much.”