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The Nippon Foundation Launches Fund-Raising Drive with U.S., Ukrainian Envoys to Assist Evacuees from Ukraine (2) [2022/07/01]
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Ms. Oksana Bila, who fled war-torn Ukraine to Japan with her son and daughter, joins a press conference on June 13, 2022, to announce the launch of a fund to assist Ukrainian evacuees in Japan.


Speaking at a press conference on June 13 to announce the launch of the Ukrainian Evacuees Assistance Fund, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said: “As someone whose family came from Odessa (southwestern Ukraine), I would like to thank The Nippon Foundation and Japanese people for their support of the Ukrainian evacuees. This global and humanitarian crisis requires more than just government and corporate action. Every single individual has a role to play, and this fund empowers them to do so.”

“I am proud to stand here with my friends, Ukrainian Ambassador (Sergiy) Korsunsky and (Jumpei) Sasakawa-san of The Nippon Foundation, to show what we stand for, and the difference we can make when we partner for what is right,” he said, adding: “I hope these donations bring a measure of stability to the families whose lives have been devastated by Russia’s unjust, unprovoked, and unwarranted war.”

Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan Korsunsky said: “We are grateful to The Nippon Foundation and our strategic partner the United States of America for their valuable support to Ukraine from the beginning of the Russian invasion. The war continues so every help counts.” He added that the fund can make a difference and contribute considerably to the efforts to ease the suffering of the Ukrainians who have been forced to flee from the hardships of the war.

He called on Japanese people to see donations to the fund as an “investment by Japan in a nation that will always be friends with you,” adding Ukrainians in Japan will be “a bridge between our countries” when Ukraine is ready to rebuild itself.

Also attending the press conference were Ukrainian evacuees in Japan Ms. Oksana Bila, 48, and her son Mark Yelenets, 22, and daughter Rimma Yelenets-Memor, 18. When the war started on February 24, Ms. Bila was in Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine near the Russian border while Mark was studying in Norway and Rimma in Poland. They arrived in Tokyo together on May 9.

Ms. Bila said: “Walking through parks and neighborhoods (in Japan), the buildings are very beautiful and this gives me peace of mind. Thank you to everyone in Japan.”

Mark returned to Ukraine from Norway to join the army after the Russian invasion, but was exempted from military service as he had been enrolled in a university outside Ukraine. “I am very happy to be able to study Japanese culture and language, visit historical places, and learn about Japanese traditions,” he said, adding the family is "really grateful" for educational support because it offers the possibility of being integrated into Japanese society by learning the language and culture.

Rimma had been studying design at a university in Poland and is still attending lectures remotely after evacuating to Japan. “Once I’ve mastered the language, I want to transfer to a Japanese university,” she said, adding: “Thank you very much to the people of Japan and America for giving us this opportunity. I am very grateful that my mother was able to evacuate from Kharkiv.”

(End)


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Mr. Mark Yelenets says he is “very happy” to study Japanese culture and language.


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Ms. Rimma Yelenets-Memor says that once she’s mastered the Japanese language, she wants to transfer to a Japanese university.



Here is how you can donate to the Ukrainian Evacuees Assistance Fund.
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