Arrived in Béziers on March 31, eleven Ukrainian refugees were directed to the hotel Le Pavillon, in Villeneuve-lès-Béziers. Since then, some have stood on their own two feet.
While Ukraine has been under Russian bombardment since the end of February, Ukrainian refugees, who arrived in Biterrois on March 31, are making their mark.
Accompanied on a daily basis by the senior Béziers Lions club, they were initially all accommodated at the Le Pavillon hotel in Villeneuve-lès-Béziers.
As time passed and the summer season arrived, the six women and five men had to start their second new life. Between work, education and accommodation, these refugees continue on their way.
1. Liubov and Ksenia hope to return
Liubov, a 63-year-old retiree, came to France accompanied by her granddaughter, Ksenia, 15, with whom she was already living on the Ukrainian-Russian border. Today, Ksenia found the school benches, at the Marc-Bloch high school in Sérignan.
The two women are currently staying with locals in the town.
With the rest of their family still in their home country – Ksenia’s parents stayed in their Ukrainian village with their children – the grandmother and granddaughter have a wish to “return as soon as they can“, according to Frédéric Ramond, president of the Lions club.
2. Olena got a seasonal job
Olena, 31, came to France leaving her family behind. Coming from kyiv, the young mathematics teacher and notary would like to return to Ukraine as soon as possible. “On site it has everything. His profession, his family, his friends. She doesn’t have to be homesick, but she doesn’t want to stay there forever.“, explains Frédéric Ramond.
In the meantime, Olena has landed a seasonal contract in the Agde Campsite des Champs Blancs, where she is staying.
3. Nina and Natalya also work
At 60, Nina has been the most independent of the group since day one. This former employee of a nuclear power plant now lives at Le Sérignan Plage campsite, in the town of the same name, where she works.
Just like Natalya, 31 years old and originally from Lviv, who got a seasonal job at the L’Étoile de mer campsite, through the Plie Béziers-Méditerranée.
4. For Yanoslava: a contract at the Pavilion
For her part, Yanoslava, 41, originally from Lviv, stayed at the Pavilion. The latter has won a contract in the hotel, which ends at the end of September. Unlike her sisters, Yanoslava desires “ stay in France permanentlyaccording to the president of the club. His relatives were welcomed in France in turn, not far from Frontignan“.
5. Aleksandra, her husband and their three children
The small family of five, Aleksandra, her husband and their children, also stayed at the Pavilion. Since the beginning of April, the dad has been employed in the Villeneuve-lès-Béziers hotel. Beyond June 24, the family should be relocated to an apartment refurbished by the City.
Aleksandra, the mother, a professional pastry chef, did not manage to find a job. “The language barrier is still too high. Every Tuesday afternoon, I take him to French lessons in Béziers“, says Frédéric Ramond. Their three children are all in school.
The youngest in a primary school in Villeneuve, the two oldest, in 6th and 5th, at the Sérignan college.
Like Yanoslava, the family, which came straight from eastern Ukraine, wants to stay in France in the future. “Especially for the education of their children“, specifies the president of the club.
No less than six solidarity convoys left Béziers to transport the donations collected at the level of the territory to the Ukrainian border and in particular to Tchortkiv, a town twinned with the city of Riquet.
“We provide bulletproof vests, helmets, defensive equipment”, explained Robert Ménard, at the beginning of May, during his on-site visit.
“People still need dry food, canned food and all that protective gear…”