We’ve welcomed many Ukrainians throughout the years who live alongside us as our neighbors, friends, and colleagues. Our hearts ache for those left in harm’s way.

Melineh Kano
Executive Director

Ukrainians Served Since February 2022

RefugeeOne has 20+ Ukrainian program staff to serve the influx of thousands of Ukrainian refugees who have fled the Russian invasion and made their way to Chicago.

Our team provides critical support to newly arrived Ukrainians navigating complex support systems, helping with public benefit applications, work authorization, social security cards, and school enrollment, as well as helping secure thousands of dollars in state funds, and providing direct rent support to ensure families’ stability as they adjust.

We’ve launched two satellite offices in neighborhoods where many Ukrainians are settling, offering on-site English classes and educational seminars on topics like housing rights, job coaching, and higher education. Thanks to donations from people like you, Ukrainians are also able to access our standard adjustment services, including youth programs, mental health services, and legal assistance.

RefugeeOne will continue to stand with Ukrainians rebuilding their lives in Chicagoland, with hopes for the reunification of families and the recovery of Ukrainians around the world.

Ukrainian refugees who fled war eagerly attend Norridge employment fair: ‘I want a job’

Chicago Tribune | June 2023

While they are safe after fleeing their war-torn homeland, their lives were turned upside down. “I felt very stressed; I was afraid,” Pimenova said.

Now the refugees now face another challenge amid their disrupted lives: finding work. The expectations were lessened for professionals like Pimenova, an experienced attorney and insurance company manager in Ukraine who knows she will probably have to start all over again in the United States.

Kateryna and Oleksander lived in Mariupol, Ukraine when the Russian invasion began.

Their city was an early target for airstrikes. Despite the shelling, the mother and son decided to remain in the city at first. The attack was so unexpected, “no one really knew what to do,” recalls Kateryna. They believed safe passages to leave would remain open. Plus, it was their home.

They took shelter from continued bombing in the weeks that followed. Kateryna’s experience as a nurse led her to administer first aid to those around her. Many died in her arms. She describes those days darkly: “We didn’t eat, we didn’t shower, we lived in the worse of conditions.”

Soon, there was no home to speak of. Kateryna saw her own apartment building bombed.



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