Ukrainian student fundraising to stay in UK after being left with 'nothing' as family fights for their lives in Kyiv

A Ukrainian student set up a fundraiser to stay in the UK after the war left her and her parents in Kyiv with nothing but their lives.

Mariia, 23, has been studying Material Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield for four years and was excited when she was accepted into a Physics PhD programme in Warwick.

Now, after more than a month since the Russian war on Ukraine started, Mariia is left with nothing.

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Her parents, an economics professor and a lawyer, have been fighting for their lives in Kyiv, while losing all their possessions and wealth.

Mariia is fundraising to stay in the UK [Image: Mariia via Gofundme]Mariia is fundraising to stay in the UK [Image: Mariia via Gofundme]
Mariia is fundraising to stay in the UK [Image: Mariia via Gofundme]

Mariia is currently getting by due to donations of her British friends, as her parents are unable to provide for her anymore.

On her GoFundMe page, Mariia wrote: “The war has turned my life upside down. Just last month, I had a home, a happy family to always return to, and enjoyed my engineering degree in Sheffield.

“Today, I have nothing except faith. I message my family and friends to ask if they are still alive every day. My family has lost their ability to support me, and now live under shelling.”

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If she doesn’t raise the £3000 needed for her visa extension and UHS fee for the duration of her PhD, she will have to leave the UK within weeks of her graduation date in the summer.

Mariia said: “Ukrainian students are not waived from visa extension fees. Essentially, I cannot start my PhD without this visa.

“Also, if I raise more funds than that, they will help me with costs of moving to Warwick, and with my rent before I start my PhD course and receive my stipend.”

So far, Mariia has raised about £1,300 and is very thankful people are trying to make her dreams come true.

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She said: “The response has been amazing. My friends’ parents have been so kind that my parents back home were crying when I told them.

“Both people I know and don’t know were donating to help me. I am very grateful for that.”

Despite the war taking everything from her, the student is positive and looking forward to her future in the UK, if she can reach her fundraising goal.

She said: “I’m so thankful for the kindness and support, everyone’s help is so appreciated. I hope to start my life again, from scratch, despite all my losses”.

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