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Anastasia Hordieieva pictured with Lahinch Leisure Centre duty manager Dervlla Considine and general manager Eoin Conlan.

Ukraine’s Anastasia dives right into local life at Lahinch

Ennis College Further Education

A UKRAINIAN refugee, who was forced to flee Odessa, is thoroughly enjoying working in North Clare where her safety is guaranteed.

Anastasia Hordieieva (31) is working as a swim teacher in Lahinch Leisure Centre, as part of an eight-hour shift three days a week.

In an interview with the Champion, Anastasia revealed she only started to have a good night sleep when she felt safe in her new Lisdoonvarna hotel residence.

“When I was travelling through Romania I couldn’t sleep properly and would wake up after just two hours. Now, I can have a good sleep.

“The war in Ukraine is a horrible nightmare,” she outlined.

On March 20, Anastasia arrived in North Clare on her own, having escaped the horrors of the Ukrainian war.

Her mother, who is an accountant in a pharmacy company, is still living in Odessa, as she has to take care of her grandmother, who recently suffered from a heart attack.

On February 24, Anastasia decided to leave Odessa as she felt it was no longer safe to remain.

Following a three kilometre walk to Romania, she had to take a long 30-hour bus to Germany, which proved to be a difficult journey before getting a plane from Düsseldorf to Dublin Airport.

While she was in Ukraine she studied in sports in a third level college.

“I wanted to try to find something that I could do that would be helpful and useful to local people.

“I am trying to get lifeguard qualifications here. I am doing a lifeguard training course here. I hope to finish my course next August when I will be fully qualified. I need to get swim qualifications that are recognised here in Ireland,” she said.

Being able to speak the same language as Ukrainian children has proved to be a great advantage when they come to the pool to learn how to swim.

She is also trying to learn English in an effort to improve her communication skills during her part-time work.

She said Ukrainian children need support as they are now living in a new country after fleeing their own war-torn country.

“We are very grateful for the welcome Ukrainian people have received in North Clare. It is very important that young Ukrainian children can continue going to school and don’t lose a year of their education because of the war. Ukrainian children can improve their English language at school.

“I really like working, it is very good for my brain. I like meeting people and I can do something good for local people.

“I feel very grateful for this opportunity. Irish people are very kind and open hearted. I am very lucky as I believe I can start new life here,” she said.

Having surfed the internet looking for work, she sent a text and then an expression of interest letter to Lahinch Leisure Centre manager, Eoin Conlan.

Now residing in the Hydro Hotel, Lisdoonvarna, she said the hotel manager is very kind and supportive to all the Ukrainian residents.

Mr Conlan said he was delighted to hire Anastasia, who is an excellent swimmer.

“Lahinch Leisure Centre has in-house training that can contribute to a person’s qualification,” said Mr Conlan.

“We have collaborated with Brendan McGrath in Water Safety Ireland, which means that our own staff can do internal training. Water Safety Ireland has trained our staff to become trainers.

“Our lifeguards can get qualified through this training as well. Anastasia is involved in this training now from our trainers and she is also a swim teacher.

“Ukrainian people are just the same as you and me. Working in Lahinch Leisure Centre gives Anastasia a focus as well, which she enjoys.

“She comes in to work three days a week, she is teaching kids to swim, which is fantastic. She is now giving something back to the community she is living in,” he said.

He recalled when Anastasia came to North Clare, “She was very proactive in terms of seeking a job, she contacted me, sent in her curriculum vitae, we had an interview and she got the job.”

About Dan Danaher

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