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Jill Biden meets Ukrainian refugee mothers and teachers in Romania -Breaking


© Reuters. Jill Biden (the first lady of the United States) and Carmen Johannis (the first lady of Romania), visit Scoala Gimnaziala Uruguay in Bucharest, Romania on May 7, 2022. Susan Walsh/Pool via REUTERS

BUCHAREST (Reuters). – On Saturday, Jill Biden was in Bucharest as the U.S. first Lady. There she met a number of mothers and teachers from the Ukraine. They praised the women’s strength and resilience.

Svitlana Sushko and Anna Salamatova, founders and leaders of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), that focussed on education for women, fled Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, shortly after Russia invaded on Feb. 24, 2014.

AnastasiiaKonovalova was another of the victims. She fled her Odesa home with her infant son. Svitlana and her daughter, aged 8, hid in Kharkiv’s basement before moving westwards to Romania.

These women were able to overcome their trauma and quickly find ways to assist other refugees. With the help of local officials and volunteers, they set up several schools and kindergartens for Ukrainian children.

Biden was told by Konovalova, a teacher that she had crossed the border along with her three-year old son. “All I could think about was how to rescue my child from a bombed city.”

Thank God that the Romanians were there. Konovalova explained that the Romanians probably didn’t know they were so amazing, as you wouldn’t have expected that.

Biden, an English teacher and writer at Virginia’s community college, is visiting Romania and Slovakia to meet U.S. soldiers deployed there and refugees.

Nearly 910,000 Ukrainians have fled to Romania since Russia launched its invasion, with charities, local authorities and government agencies working alongside thousands of volunteers to provide food, shelter and transportation.

Many have traveled further than others, but about 80,000 people remain in Romania. Most of them are women and young children.

Salamatova stated, “Only now do I realize how important an educative space is, and not just education.” Our women have the time and ability to manage their lives.

Konovalova stated that they currently have 900 students on the waiting list for Ukrainian schools.

She said, “They don’t want to go to this country because it’s unsafe. As soon as the border is safe, we’re going back… having made good friends (Romania).”

Romanian first lady Carmen Iohannis, a teacher and also the wife of President Joe Biden, was there to accompany her.

Biden stated to the Ukrainian women, “I believe mothers will do whatever for their children,” You are strong and resilient, I believe.

These first ladies were also able to meet children from Romania and Ukraine who were hand-drawing their designs on the paper in their respective flag colours.

Sushko stated, “The world has become so wide open that there are no boundaries for our hearts,”