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History of Volodya

This handsome young man is Volodya. He is seventeen years old. In early December, Rubikus helped him relocate to Eindhoven, a city in the south of the Netherlands. Because Volodya is an orphan, Dutch laws prevent him from living on his own. Currently, he is a ward of the state and lives, together with a group of other minors, in a commune that resembles a college dorm. We asked Volodya to share his impressions and tell us about his new life in the Netherlands.

“I was born and lived in Mariupol. I still can’t believe that I managed to cross several countries and ended up so far from home! Right after I arrived in Eindhoven, I was placed in a small but cozy two-person bedroom. My roommate, who is also from Mariupol, had moved here before me and has already started working for a local McDonald’s. Later on, I’m going to apply for a job there too, so that I have at least some income. In the meantime, I’m learning Dutch to speed up my assimilation. I was given a laptop for my studies.

This place has everything a young person like me could possibly need: a shared kitchen, a spacious recreation lounge, a music room with a drum kit, and a separate room where you can play video games and watch football. There is also a wide variety of leisure activities: the day I arrived, I ended up in the audience of a proper show with costumes and songs, and we’ve already gone to the movies and visited an amusement park.

I can’t say that I’ve dreamed all my life about the Netherlands. It was never even on my ‘Top Travel Destinations’ list. But now I’ve come to realize that the country is a perfect place to live. And this overall perfection is the result of little things.

For instance, I like that bicycles are very popular here, and cars — not so much. The air is cleaner, there’s no dust. If it’s raining, and I go out in white sneakers, they stay white. I also like that winters here are mild: 41 °F (5 °C) on average, so I don’t need to wear three sweaters under a puffer jacket

The people are approachable and warm, the atmosphere is friendly. At first I was surprised that everyone was smiling, even the senior citizens. But now, I myself break into a broad grin whenever I meet someone’s eyes. The person smiles back, and we are both in great spirits as a result.

So, this is my new life, in a new country, among new people.”
Stories of the refugee families