Ukrainian refugee comes to Pittsburgh to begin new life

PITTSBURGH — Channel 11 sat down exclusively with 27-year-old Daria Zhuravska. She’s here in Pittsburgh to start a new life after escaping the war in Ukraine. She was devastated to leave her home. She explained what it took to get here while the rest of her family is still overseas.

She quickly got out of Ukraine after she heard fighting in her hometown of Kyiv.

“I had seen one splash from my window far away,” said Zhuravska. “In my head I thought I could die any moment. From the outside, I was calm, but my hands were shaking. Inside, I felt a horror state. I can’t explain it.”

She shared a video of her family packing up to leave.

“Grabbed all my documents. It was horrible. It was not safe in Kyiv so that’s why me and my family decided to go to another country,” said Zhuravska.

They saw these military tanks on their drive to Germany. Daria received help moving here to Pittsburgh about two weeks ago.

“Our career counselor sponsored Zhuravska to come to the United States. They met on Facebook,” said Dr. Terrie Suica-Reed, President and CEO of Phase 4 Learning Center.

Her counsellor provides her with housing, and Phase 4 Learning Center is helping her improve her English and learn other skills.

Meanwhile, Daria’s eight family members, including her mom, sister and grandparents, remain in Germany.

Her dad stayed behind in Ukraine to help. She speaks with him often on FaceTime, but is worried for his safety.

“He always smiles and says everything will be okay but I’m still worried because the news isn’t as positive as he sounds.”

Zhuravska hopes to return home one day. She’s sad about what’s happening to her homeland. Here’s what she wants people to know.

“It’s a real war in Ukraine, and every Ukrainian now their heart is full of sadness,” said Zhuravska.

This is the first time the Phase 4 learning center has helped a refugee. Once she gets a visa work permit, they plan to help her get a job here. Zhuravska misses her family and hopes to be reunited with them soon..