Home LAST NEWS Montpellier: Yelena badminton teacher in Castelnau-le-Lez welcomes twelve Ukrainians

Montpellier: Yelena badminton teacher in Castelnau-le-Lez welcomes twelve Ukrainians

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Yelena Shutenko, of Ukrainian origin teaches badminton at the Bad in Lez club in Castelnau-le-Lez. Since the war broke out, she has welcomed twelve people into her home.

Natalia arrived on March 3, Anna on March 11. They are best friends with Yelena Shutenko who teaches badminton at the well-known Bad in Lez club in Castelnau-le-Lez. “I have been in France for 20 years”she points out, including ten years at the Fos-sur-Mer club where she plays at the highest level, as a professional.

This polytechnician, native of Kharviv in Ukraine, a city of two million inhabitants “today massacred under the bombs” did not think long before offering hospitality to her friends “and to friends of my friends, with their children”. That is 12 people today divided into two apartments located in Grau-du-roi in the Gard.

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Badminton, to take your mind off things

Natalia and Anna are two university professors in chemistry and their lives, like so many others, have changed since the Russian invasion. “We are very worried because our family has not been able to leave the country,” and don’t want it. “I know my father’s house was bombed”, explains Yelena. “We call each other as soon as we can”, but when it comes to her friends, “They don’t know if their house is still standing!”.

The children were educated from kindergarten to college. One of them, from a prestigious school, takes distance learning courses, “the college in Ukraine maintained them”.

So when Yelena works at the Perrières gymnasium in Castelnau, she takes all the children to exchange a few shuttlecocks, “and change their minds”. “My 9-year-old daughter is afraid that the bombs will come all the way here and every passing plane worries her,” explains Anna, who lived through the hell of the bombings with her children in Kharviv.

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“It’s a tragedy”

Solidarity was made over the days, exceeding the expectations of Yelena who, to date, believes that the material needs are met, but for how much longer? “There is a kitty within the club, the parents of the students have offered donations spontaneously, the Rotary Club helps us”.

In this uncertain future, we resign ourselves to not projecting ourselves. “It’s a tragedy”, confirms Yelena. “A drama from which no one will emerge victorious”. In the days to come, she will take her friends to the bank, “to create an account for them and see if their academic salaries will continue to be paid”.

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