By Megan Armitage
Vladyslava Zhmuro finds safety and shelter for people when they need it the most and her efforts have led to her being recognised nationally for her work.
A Ukrainian refugee who found solace in Wales, Zhmuro now works for the Welsh Refugee Council to help others find a safe place to live away from home.
To highlight the charity's impressive work, The National Lottery unveiled a showstopping projection created by Ukrainian artist Sergey Piskunov depicting a hyper-realistic portrait of Vladyslava Zhmuro on the building of Royal Albert Docks in Liverpool. Broadcaster Chris Tarrant OBE revealed the portrait during an unveiling at the historic docks which will host the next Eurovision song contest on behalf of this year’s winners, Ukraine .
The installation forms part of The National Lottery’s campaign championing those who are doing amazing things to support refugees and help displaced people across the world, with National Lottery players raising £30 million for good causes every week.
Zhmuro is thrilled with her team's recognition, hoping that their story will help educate others about the work they do. She said: "It's brilliant, it's unexpected and I'm really honoured.
"For me, it's just a big surprise and I feel really good about it.
"I'm definitely proud to be a part of it and I think it's important for more people to know about charities like ours and the work they do.
"Then maybe they would like to donate and change their thoughts about refugees and asylum seekers in general, not just Ukrainians but all refugees and asylum seekers.
"Some people think that people just come here because they want to move to Britain, but some people are just forced to when they would rather stay home.
"So maybe this can change people's perception of refugees in a different way, and I hope it does."
Zhmuro came to Wales in March 2022, finding work at the Welsh Refugee Council and since then has seen it expand and add a specific Ukraine focused team.
The Welsh Refugee Council helps refugees find homes and education, supplying English courses and supporting their integration into Welsh society, providing them with protection after fleeing danger.
With an accommodating welcome to her new home in Wales, Zhmuro wants everyone to have the same experience.
Chris Tarrant has helped us to unveil the first installation in our ‘People’s Portraits’ series at the Royal Albert Dock. It’s part of our UK-wide campaign celebrating the impact #NationalLottery funding has had around the country since it began 28 years ago. 🥳#ThanksToYou  pic.twitter.com/F0IUOhLE6K
— National Lottery Good Causes (@LottoGoodCauses) October 26, 2022
She said: "It's important because many people come here and have lost so much.
"They had a whole life built in Ukraine and now they've lost their homes and everything and so they've come to a different country and often they feel lost.
"So, they are already traumatised by a war but then coming to a different country, it's important to make their lives here as comfortable as possible and give them, not just basic shelter, but also opportunities to rebuild their lives.
"For someone who doesn't have any danger in their life, maybe it's difficult to understand but they need to try and put themselves in their shoes.
"People had to leave their lives and families and maybe lost someone, not out of choice but out of need.
"But Ukrainian people are very grateful to Welsh people for the warm welcome here. Everyone has been really nice and welcoming."
Alongside the projection of Vladyslava Zhmuro, three additional digital portraits have been created by artist Yoniest Chun, depicting the stories of other individuals and projects who have achieved incredible things for their communities and peers in supporting refugees as part of The National Lottery’s Peoples’ Portraits series. These include Mary Lafferty from Omagh Community House, Abdul Bostani from Glasgow Afghan United and Mariia Lata from Yellowscarf in Evesham, West Midlands.