BOISE, Idaho — Thousands of Ukrainians continue to flee from their homeland to surrounding countries and the United States.
According to Irina Rezanovich, who moved to the states from Ukraine at eight years old, there are currently around 30 Ukrainian Refugee families in the Treasure Valley.
Irina said around one week ago her uncle, aunt, and six children decided to leave everything behind and move to Boise.
“We could not understand the situation and why it was happening,” Irina said.
“Here is the choice that you have to make, either you chose to take care of your house and your property, and material things, or your life,” Vitaliy Prudnikov, Irina’s uncle said. “The siege of the city was just horrible, the water was destroyed, the water source for the city was destroyed, all the electrical stations were also destroyed.”
When asked what it was like to leave his country, he said it’s hard to remember the entire experience.
“It’s very hard to live through that; when everything is exploding around you, when people are dying and houses and buildings are getting destroyed,” he said.
According to Irina, the number of Ukrainian families fleeing to Boise will only grow. Those who come to the United States are here on humanitarian parole, meaning they are not often eligible for things like a green card or refugee resettlement programs.
“So, there's no pathway for them to help just yet,” Irina said.
Churches around the valley feel they are being called to help.
“One choir rehearsal I stood up and said thoughts and prayers are not enough,” said Nick Anderson, a member of the Cathedral Choir at Cathedral of the Rockies.
In an effort to raise money and support for Ukrainians, Anderson planned a refugee concert to take place at the Cathedral of the Rockies on April 29th. The church will be filled with sounds and tones from all different backgrounds including the Slavic Community.
“These people need help. We are in very fortunate circumstances; we sit here in a lovely park and we don't have to worry about bombs and shrapnel,” Anderson said. “When I was growing up, I saw bomb sites in major cities in England 25 years after the bombing of the second world war, and you think we would get past genocide but this is genocide by any other name.”
Anderson said the concert will be videotaped and sent to Ukrainian families with internet access, letting them know the Treasure Valley is supporting them and welcoming them with open arms.
“There’s going to be a whole group of people who, for no fault of their own, are being bombed out of their homes and that just speaks to me in terms of, you want to help and music is one way to help,” Anderson said.
A GoFundMe for Vitaliy's family can be found here.
To donate to a local nonprofit helping Idaho refugees, click here.
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