Ukrainian teenager’s plea to find a home in Hartlepool after studying with people from the town

An Ukrainian teenager would be “overjoyed” if Hartlepool becomes his new home after meeting people from the town before the war.

Monday, 13th June 2022, 12:19 pm
Updated Monday, 13th June 2022, 12:19 pm

Seventeen-year-old Dima Kaliaka is currently in the Ukrainian city of Kherson with his mum, who is 46, and is desperate to get to safety.

The teenager – who has remained “upbeat” despite the war – now has a dream of moving to Hartlepool after studying with people from the town who had visited Ukraine before the invasion.

Following the start of the conflict, he connected with Middlesbrough resident Sarah through charity website Opora, which helps refugees match with potential hosts.

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Dima wants to make Hartlepool his home.

Kind-hearted Sarah is already hosting a woman from Ukraine and has no spare rooms for Dima and his mum.

But she took it upon herself to help him find a sponsor here after hearing about his love for Hartlepool,

"He desperately wants to be in Hartlepool,” said Sarah, who did not want to disclose her surname.

"He’s a bit concerned because he turns 18 in February and if the war is still going, he will be conscripted at that point.

The teenager is currently in the Ukrainian city of Kherson.

"He’s looking to come to England and will be absolutely overjoyed to be in Hartlepool with his mum.”

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Sarah, 46, added: "He’s aware that it has a strong maritime connection. He’s heard it’s a nice town to be in with friendly people.”

Dima’s 53-year-old dad and 26-year-old brother would be unable to leave the country because of their age.

Dima has told Sarah he can hear bombs go off as he tries to study for his exams.

She has described the naval student as independent and confident and “quite upbeat”, adding: "He would really love to study computer programming.”

In a message to Mail readers, Dima said: “I would really like to get to this town because at the moment I have a friend in it and I would like to study with him.

"I would be glad to go to the UK because it is not very pleasant when rockets fly overhead. I will be very grateful if someone can help us. Thanks in advance.”

Potential hosts would need to have two spare rooms for Dima and his mum.

Contact the [email protected] if you would like to be put in touch with Sarah and help.