Olga and her six-year-old son fled the war in Ukraine in March 2022. Olga was very undecided about the best steps forward for her and her family, as the outcome of Russian hostilities were uncertain at the time. Once they began to hear the sounds of explosions, Olga and son joined millions of others in a queue at the Polish border. 

Olga and her son arrived in the UK at the beginning of May thanks to the hard work and generosity of a good will group that helped pair 70 families with new hosts in the area. This is where Olga and Kirill arrived to Wallington to meet Valerie and her husband Lewis (pictured below).


Although Olga had worked in Kyiv and other places in Ukraine, for the past 6 years she had been living in a quiet, rural village. Olga and her son were initially overawed by the busy journey from London to the suburbs of Greater London. Olga never thought she would get used to the new roads, traffic, public transport, and most of all, learning to speak English for the first time.

Fast-forward to a little over 3 months later – with a lot of language classes, complex visa processes, biometric cards, NHS registrations and school applications in between – Olga now has a job of her own in the UK. As a naturally hard worker, Olga was very reluctant to receive benefits and wanted to pay her way herself. Olga now has a bike which she uses to get around with ease and her son has a place at school, joined Beavers and has made friends. Both of them have been overcome by the support and friendship that the British people have shared with them.

Olga the artist

Amongst other talents, Olga is a skilful self-taught artist. From a small child, she loved drawing and painting and has since used this as a tool for relaxation and stress relief. Over the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Valerie organised a big Jubilee Street Party. They suggested to Olga to offer face-painting services at the party. As face painting is not as popular in Ukraine, Olga wasn’t sure how it would be received but was quickly surprised and delighted by the positive response. Since finding that both children and adults love face painting, Olga has gradually built up a great reputation and regularly takes part in children’s parties and local events.

After Valerie saw an advert for our local fundraising event Woof Fest, she immediately thought of her Dad who was under our care and suggested Olga could provide her face painting as part of the festival. She is now looking forward to joining us at Beddington Park on Saturday 17 September. 

If you would like meet Olga and see her face painting skills for yourself, you can buy a ticket via the button below. Remember, under 5’s can come for free!

If you would like Olga to attend one of your events, you can contact her via:

[email protected]

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