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Ukrainian orphans mark two years in Scotland trip back to their first outing

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In the early days of the war in Ukraine, a charity run by football fans in Edinburgh evacuated a group of more than 50 children and their carers from orphanage families.

Dnipro Kids, the Scotland-based charity which works to care for Ukrainian orphans, helped the group to arrive in the country.

Two years on, and the charity is entering a new phase in its work as the ‘families’ continue to adjust to their lives in Scotland. 

Four are in their own homes, while the charity is seeking new accommodation for three others who are in the process of moving.

On the anniversary of their first trip out in Scotland to Blair Drummond Safari Park, the children and their carers returned to mark the occasion.

Ukrainian house mothers from the charity told STV News about their experience in Scotland.

“I like it very much, people are so open and their hearts are so open to us,” one said.

Another added: “I like Scotland very much, people are very nice and kind to us and everything is so green and beautiful, we absolutely love living in Scotland.”

For the children it has been a massive culture change and a challenge, one that they have faced head on.

Most now live in Edinburgh, with some living as far as Perth.

One child said: “I like here people are very kind, I like job here.”

Another added: “People are so kind, I like the city because it is so beautiful.”

Many still hold out hope that they can return safely to Ukraine.

Dnipro Kids chairman Steven Carr said: “When our story first hit the news, the brutal invasion of Ukraine by Putin’s Russia was in its early full flow.

“In amongst the horrors of this war the Dnipro Kids charity, which was started by supporters of Hibernian Football Club including myself in 2005, began evacuating 50 orphanage children to Scotland. This unfolding story captured the hearts of the people in this country and beyond, as they followed their journey out of Ukraine, through Poland and eventually to Scotland as the first group of displaced Ukrainians to enter the UK.

“Since then, we’ve cared for them – we’ve managed to get all the kids into schools, they are all registered with dentists and GPs, many are in college or working, and we continue to support their efforts to integrate. We make sure every kid gets a birthday gift and a Christmas present. We organise occasional treats and short-breaks. It has been non-stop, and we’re grateful for the amazing help we’ve had from Edinburgh College, City of Edinburgh Council’s Ukrainian Hub, Perth and Kinross Council, and the many kind donors who have donated so generously to help support our work.”

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