As fears of escalating conflict grow, the International Rescue Committee has been helping Ukrainian refugees in the UK to find employment and integrate smoothly into their new communities through its Ukraine Response Project.  

Since February of this year, the UK has welcomed thousands of Ukrainian refugees with stories like Jane’s. Jane is a 35-year-old single mother who was forced to flee her home with her two children, 13-year-old Arsienii and 8-year-old Sofiia. When bombs began falling in their hometown of Kharkiv, Jane made the difficult decision to leave behind her parents, Arsienii and Sofiia’s father, and their beloved pets, driving her children east for five days until they finally found safety, and eventually reached the UK via the Government’s sponsorship scheme.  

The IRC’s Ukraine Response Project helps families like Jane’s as they rebuild their lives in the UK. It empowers newly arrived Ukrainian refugees to navigate British institutions including the NHS, and also includes a 6-week job readiness course to help Ukrainians find employment in the UK. 

This programme builds on the success of the IRC’s previous work helping refugees integrate in the UK, which with the provision of integration support to resettled Syrian refugees last year. The IRC’s UK programming now serves 286 across 8 counties, offering sessions in English, Dari, Pashto, Arabic, Russian and Ukrainian to refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Sudan and Ukraine.   

Laura Kyrke Smith, IRC’s Executive Director for the UK, said: 

“Ukrainian refugees in the UK have been forced to leave behind their homes, livelihoods and families in search of safety and security. The IRC is pleased to join the UK public in welcoming them with open arms, and utilise its expertise in integration services to support and empower newly arrived Ukrainian refugees in the UK.  

The support provided through the IRC’s Ukraine Response programme plays a crucial role in enabling refugees to navigate life in the UK and to thrive in their local communities. As more refugees find safety and security in the UK, most recently those fleeing conflict in Ukraine, the need for sustained and informed integration support from Day One is more important than ever.”