Many in the Czech Republic have been welcoming Ukrainian refugees into their homes. One of the most high-profile Prague residents to do so is the ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Martina Mlinarević, whose family have taken in two Ukrainian families, swelling their usual household of three to no fewer than nine. She explains their motivations.
“We from Bosnia experienced exactly the same thing in the ‘90s.
“We all know the horrors of war. We know what it is like to be a refugee.
“And I’m happy to see the Czech Republic’s reaction to everything that is happening in Ukraine, because they were the same in the ‘90s, during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
“We had so many refugees from my country at that time who found a home in the Czech Republic in those years, thanks to President Havel and the wonderful Czech people.
“So in fact from that position, of people who already survived one war and the pain and horrors of the war, it was quite easy for us to decide that we will help Ukrainians.
“I think it’s the best decision we ever made, because our home now is filled with new friendship, love and laughter – along with all those horrible things.
“I think that we have managed to give them a safe shelter.”
How are the adults who are staying with you dealing with the situation?
“They are quiet, they are confused, they are following the news all the time.
“They are thinking of their families who remain in Ukraine.
“I think that they believe, just like us in the ‘90s, that it will be over in a few days, or at least in a month.
“I also must say that I am so fascinated by their perseverance and courage.
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Author: Ian Willoughby
Photo: archive of Martina Mlinarević