Four Ukrainian children who were apart from their guardians when war broke out in the country have been with their ‘orphanage families’ in Scotland after several months in an emotional reunion.
Dnipro Kids, a Scotland-based charity which works to care for Ukrainian orphans, has been working tirelessly to evacuate children and their guardians from the country since the Russian aggression began.
When war broke out in Ukraine on February 24, four children from two orphanages which the charity supports had been on a residential trip in Odessa and were unable to leave the city until evacuation plans had been made.
Once arrangements had been made, the children travelled by bus to Lviv where it was planned that they would cross the border to Poland before travelling on to Scotland.
However, they were unable to cross the border from Ukraine despite Dnipro Kids organising the correct documents as they were not travelling with their legal guardian.
Dnipro Kids chairman Steven Carr said: “We had issues trying to get over the border twice, we had legal documents signed by the Ukrainian consulate in Edinburgh passing over guardianship, but border control wouldn’t accept the documents as they weren’t with their legal guardians – they were already in Edinburgh.
“We had to fly two orphanage mothers to Poland, to then get the bus back to Lviv, Ukraine to meet the children and bring them through the border themselves.”
Finally, after their documents had been processed in Warsaw, the children arrived at Glasgow airport on Monday night before they were swiftly transported to Edinburgh to reunite with their orphanage families – with lots of hugs and tears.
A spokesman described the reunion as “very emotional for our Ukrainian orphanage families”.
They added: “They are all extremely happy and hugely relieved. Thank you to everyone who helped us get the children safely to Scotland.”
The charity, which was set up in 2005 by Hibs fans following the club’s UEFA Cup trip to the Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk, has already evacuated more than 50 children since March and brought them to Scotland.
In an update to supporters this month Mr Carr said that most of the children had started school in Edinburgh – the home of the charity – and are settling into a happy and normal life.