When Putin’s tanks rolled into the Donbas, Igor knew he had to leave. “I am 33 years old, I was born with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. Miraculously, I moved from my town in Ukraine, which is now being bombed by the Russians.” 

Some friends helped him put together his belongings, packing them and his wheelchair into a car, from where he was driven across the country and over the border into Poland, finally arriving at the L’Arche Community in Poznan, 1,934 km from his home.  

“It’s a miracle that I'm here,” he says. His cat had to stay behind. 

Igor says he is overwhelmed by the welcome he has received in L’Arche - “like a human being, not an invalid”. He has noticed that people have a different attitude towards disability in Poland than they often seemed to in eastern Ukraine.   

There is a volunteer who can communicate with him in Russian, but he is starting to learn Polish too. Igor is warm and talkative and has already made friends in Poznan. He dreams of being able to stay - “to be useful for the country”.  

The Community loves him and enjoys being able to offer help to a man who is escaping a war. Lidia, one of the oldest members of L’Arche Poznan, delights in helping him to the table in his wheelchair.  

“In L’Arche,” he says, “I have found sincere love, peace. Peace and respect.”  

09/06/2022 Update

Thanks to generous gifts to the L'Arche Emergency Fund, it has been possible to purchase an electric-powered wheelchair for Igor. For the first time in his life, he is now able to go out for walks by himself - without needing someone to push him around. "Now I have legs! I am happy!" Igor commented.

L'Arche Poznan is also in the process of fitting out his bathroom to make it more accessible.