A FOSTER home in Ukraine run by a Kendal charity and built with donations from Westmorland Gazette readers has taken in 10 refugees from the east of the country.

Genesis House, near Kiev, has become a ‘sanctuary’ for two adults and eight children who were thrown out of their house by separatists because they refused to become Russian.

Kendal gran Pat Harrison, who founded the New Beginnings charity to raise the money for the safe house, said the group were put out of their house in the middle of the night before fleeing to Kiev in two old cars: “Most of the children are damaged in some way in terms of their health and they had no extra clothes or toys when they arrived,” said Pat.


The foster parents at the house, Sasha and Olena Donskyy, added that the six girls had been sleeping in one room because they were ‘so afraid to be separated’.

The Donskys are currently in Kendal for a three-week visit, and said watching scenes of the Ukrainian crisis on the news has made them ‘afraid to go back’. Sasha and Olena had been considering retiring from Genesis House and have said that ultimately the adult refugees could take over as the home’s new foster parents.

Pat said: “We’re going to see how it all works, but Genesis House will be a sanctuary for refugees as long as they need it.”

Olena said it was ‘sure’ that there would be more refugees coming to the house because, “some towns and cities have just been ruined”.

Thanks to its huge vegetable plot, the charity is also feeding 20 refugees in the village, including children and women who are living in a garden shed.

Genesis House opened in 2004, funded by generous donations from readers of The Westmorland Gazette, and has taken in 14 children in ten years.