In Kyiv I worked for the local department of ecology. After coming to the UK I completed my master’s degree remotely, then joined a sustainability consultancy in London as a survey manager. It’s a rewarding job, because there’s a lot to learn and you get to share your experience with others. But most of all because the work relates to my core interest, which is the environment.
Russia’s invasion has been a disaster for Ukraine’s ecology. The aggressor is shelling oil depots, destroying towns, blowing up dams. Thousands of incidents of air, water and land pollution are degrading our ecosystems. 200,000km² of Ukrainian territory is contaminated with ordnance – an area the size of the UK. And the seizure of Europe's largest nuclear plant threatens not just Ukraine but all of Europe with a man-made catastrophe. There’s one word for what Russia is doing: ecocide.
In the spring of 2022 my mental health hit rock bottom. But my family, my partner and my friends gave me the help I needed. Now I’m determined to repay their support by helping other people affected. I want to make a difference to people’s lives, so I know I have to stay strong and keep moving forward. We can’t let evil win. And that means everyone needs to play their part.
For me, one of the biggest lessons of the past two years has been the importance of kindness. I believe that if you care about other people’s needs, it’s not only them who benefit – because in the end it brings a kind of redemption for you too.
PERSONAL ITEM: HER GRANDMA’S NECKLACE