A young Ukrainian student who lost his place in a Cork school after his family were moved to a sports hall in Clonmel is back in the classroom – thanks to the generosity of a Cork couple.
Artiom, 13, and his mother Karina had spent the summer months housed in student accommodation in Cork City, allowing Artiom to enrol in a secondary school in Bishopstown.
However, at the end of August the family were forced to move out of their accommodation as students began to return for the new academic term. They were among a large group of refugees bussed to emergency accommodation in Clonmel. It meant the end of school in Bishopstown for Artiom.
At the time, he told the Irish Examiner he felt ‘depressed’, living in the vast windowless sports hall in Clonmel. “I can’t study. I can’t exercise. I can’t talk with my friends. I am feeling depressed. We have something to eat, we have a place to sleep, and this is good, but unfortunately there is no personal space. “
His mother Karina wondered how he could study and go to school, living and sleeping in a sports hall with 50 other refugees. Now, thanks to the generosity of a Cork couple, Artiom and his mother are back in secure accommodation in Cork – and Artiom has returned to education.
After speaking to the, Artiom and Karina were contacted by a family in Passage West, Co. Cork, through Helping Irish Hosts, a company formed by hosts to offer accommodation directly to those in need.
The Ukrainian mother and son are now are living with a couple who had extra space in their house after their adult children left home.
“It’s a great pleasure to live with these people, they are very hospitable,” Karina said. “We cook together and share our supper. It was a long way to get here. “
To date, almost 49,000 people have sought refuge in Ireland since the onset of the war at the end of February. Like many who have arrived in Ireland after the start of the Russian invasion, Karina and Artiom have stayed for short periods of time in a variety of emergency accommodation settings – which makes it difficult to secure a job or settle into a school.
Since coming to Ireland, Karina and Artiom have lived in Citywest, Co. Dublin; a camp in Banteer, Co. Cork; a student accommodation complex in Cork city and the sports hall in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. They will now stay for at least six months with their new host family in Passage West.
Living near Cork city has allowed Karina to enrol at a college. She started studying on September 18 and hopes to start working after graduating next May.
Since moving back to Cork, Karina said Artiom is doing “much better”. He has his own room, his own space and has started to play basketball in Carrigaline. He is back studying in first year at St Peter’s Community School in Passage West, and Karina said their host family are “absolutely amazing”.
Yesterday, it was announced that The Gormanston military camp in Co. Meath will cease to be used to accommodate Ukrainian refugees from next month.
The facility, which has been used since July as temporary shelter for people fleeing the war in Ukraine, is due to close in the first week of October, it is understood. It is currently housing about 190 people but the tented accommodation is not a suitable facility over the winter months.
The Department of Children is in discussions with the Defense Forces to try to secure alternative, non-tented, refugee accommodation, the PA news agency understands.
The army camp became a temporary shelter after it emerged that Ireland had run out of State accommodation for Ukrainians arriving in the country. The closure comes as the number of people arriving in Ireland from the war-torn country continues to increase.
It is understood the number of Ukrainians arriving dropped to about 90 people per day in August, but that figure has now increased to about 126 people per day. It means about 800 additional beds for Ukrainian refugees are needed each week.