Posted on Nov 20, 2022
Olga speaks to the club (left) and Klaus Gubernator is hosting a family from Ukraine (right)
Thanksgiving Day marks nine months since Russia attacked Ukraine. On the day of the attack, Olga and her son began her journey to safety. Within one week of her departure, Vyshneve, where Olga lived with her three year-old son, was bombed. Olga had friends in Oceanside who advised her to get to a place that had planes leaving Europe. If she could find a plane, they would fund her tickets. Olga showed a video of her car ride to Rădăuți-Prut in Romania.  Cars were lined up for miles and Olga and her son ended up sharing a car with a woman who drove them to Debrecen, Hungary. In Hungary, Olga and her son boarded a plane to start the trip to San Diego, where they’ve lived since early March.  
Olga grew up in a family of doctors, but she followed a different path to become fluent in several languages, including English and Japanese. She worked for five years in the Embassy of Japan in Kyiv. Using these excellent communication skills, she has told her story and acted as a liaison for other Ukrainians in the San Diego area.
Olga and James Morrison, a member of Rotary Club of Point Loma who serves as District 5340 Treasurer and Paul Harris Society Coordinator, spoke to our club on November 10, 2022. James has helped organize District efforts to help Ukrainian refugees. In total, Rotary International has raised $15 million for Ukraine and these funds have been distributed through nearly 300 disaster response grants.  Our own John Baranowski and Candace Bahr helped Olga and her son when they drove her from Oceanside to Mission Valley to participate in the services fair hosted by the Amna Sanctuary.
James said that housing is the number one need of Ukrainian refugees. Klaus Gubernator has offered rooms in his home to house a Ukrainian mother and her daughters. If you are able to help in any way, please email James.