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Super-student Lia: War refugee who could not speak Spanish
08 July 2019 @ 13:27

WINNING a prize for achieving the best results in your school year is certainly something to show off about. And Lia, who lives in Sevilla, has every reason to feel proud of the award she was given this week at the city's Torreblanca high school.

Now imagine that at the start of the school year, you didn't even speak the language of the country where you went to class – not one word. That makes your achievement outstanding.

And once you add on the fact that Lia was an asylum-seeker until a month before class started, a refugee who had fled her war-torn home country almost empty-handed, it suddenly makes everything you thought was hard-won in your life appear insignificant in comparison.

Lia Motrechko (first picture), from Ukraine, was 12 when the Crimean Peninsula where she lived was annexed to Russia, and her family opted to leave immediately, setting up home in the south-east of the country.

The next four years were 'very happy', she said, but when 'Russia continued to advance' and the war spread to eastern Ukraine, her parents decided they, Lia and Lia's little brother needed to get out fast.

 

“It's hard living in a refugee centre”

“I was frightened, because I'd never seen tanks or the Army until that moment – I was very young and didn't understand a thing,” Lia said of her family's initial flight from Crimea.

But the move to Spain was even harder, she reveals.

“It's especially difficult for children. You have to leave your country, your life and your friends, and move to a place where you have nothing, to start again from zero.

“After everything, I feel much stronger than before, because I suffered so many things, like the occupation of my city, constantly moving and living in different places.”

Read more at thinkSPAIN.com

 



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