A Ukrainian refugee couple, who had items stolen from their car early on Thursday morning, have said they are grateful to the Irish people for supporting their attempt to recoup the value of their property via GoFundMe.
Anass and his wife, Olena, fled the bombing and destruction of Kyiv as soon as the war started. They travelled across Europe in their car and arrived in Ireland two weeks ago.
When they arrived in Dublin Port, they were taken to the Travelodge hotel in Ballymun in north Dublin. They were due to be transferred to Cork on Thursday, so they packed up their car with all of their belongings the night before.
Around 4am on Thursday morning, their car was broken into, and a laptop, tablet, guitar, clothes and shoes were stolen.
The couple set up a GoFundMe to cover the cost of repairing the car’s back window, which was smashed in, as well as replacing the electronics and clothes.
However, their fundraising goal of €3,000 was quickly exceeded and over €16,000 has now been raised. Anass told The Irish Times he and his wife are very grateful to the Irish people for their generosity.
“We have received way more than what we needed, we just wanted to fix the car window and replace the stolen items,” he said.
The couple have since been moved to a hotel close to Cork Airport, and the Lord Mayor of Cork, Colm Kelleher, has offered to pay for the cost of repairing their car window, according to Anass. Mr Kelleher runs a motor business in Cork.
“Tony’s Fine Clothing and LD Boutique have also offered us clothes, we are so thankful to them and the mayor.”
Anass said that they don’t need all of the money raised, and they are planning on giving it to other refugees who are in need or donating it to a charity to help others.
“We are lucky, we speak English and knew how to get in touch with the right people. There are others out there who are not as fortunate as us.”
The pair were shocked by how much money was raised and said this showed how kind Irish people are. “The car robbery was just an exception; the reality of Ireland is that people are so good here. They go above and beyond.”
On Friday afternoon, Anass discovered that someone has put €20 on the front window of their car. “I guess they saw the story, or maybe they saw the Ukrainian plates, and they wanted to help. It is really mind-blowing how kind people are here.”
He said the staff at the Cork Airport Hotel have been very helpful, and they arrived on Thursday night around midnight. “Our car should be fixed on Monday hopefully.”
The couple are planning on moving to Wexford once their affairs are in order, as they found accommodation there using the website icanhelp.host, which matches Ukrainian refugees with accommodation offers across Europe.
“We will be moving to Murrintown. We were offered a house for up to two months, it was an office beside someone’s house and it has been renovated. We are really grateful for this too.”