Community Development Officer, Andrii Nadych, helps Ukrainians seeking safety in Scotland to feel represented and play an active role in their new communities.
We caught up with him to find out more about his job and how his work is giving people displaced from Ukraine a voice.
Hi Andrii, can you tell us a bit about what you do?
I’m working with Ukrainian communities that have settled in Scotland to connect them and make sure they are involved in discussions with the Scottish Government and local authorities. My role is supporting people to share their opinions, skills and knowledge and feel more empowered in decision making.
I coordinate a Ukrainian Collective. The idea is to bring together representatives from the Ukrainian community to discuss the issues affecting their communities and propose ideas which can improve their situation. It’s not just about consulting people about the challenges they are facing but also asking for their input on solutions that could help them and others in their communities.
Why did you want to work for Scottish Refugee Council?
I have links with the Ukrainian community and experience in the charity sector and I wanted to use my skills and knowledge to improve the situation of people in Scotland.
I’d heard about Scottish Refugee Council and its reputation of involving communities. I really wanted to be involved in this work to support the Ukrainian community and the refugee community in general.
Working in charity sector can be difficult but it is also very rewarding. You get to meet many people who share your views and your desire to help people.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Being involved in the communities. I meet so many people with great knowledge, great skills and a great attitude. Involving people and empowering them to use all the experience they have to benefit others is very rewarding.
You don’t always see immediate results but you can see your efforts pay off eventually and how the work you do is improving the life of the community.
What do you find most challenging?
When you don’t have the power to make the changes that would help people.
You might understand their pain but you feel powerless because you can’t change the systems that have caused their situation. It’s frustrating when you know the issue but you can’t do anything to fix it.
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Reading, sport and spending time with my family. I’m pretty keen on classical literature and psychology and philosophy. I also like cycling, football, swimming.
Playing with my two-year-old son is one of the best ways to forget about the issues and focus on the simple things. Children make you think about the world in different ways.
Tell us something interesting about you.
I missed the birth of my son because of work. In 2020, I was working for the International Red Cross in Libya. I was supposed to be back in Ukraine by April. Then Covid restrictions started and all the planes were cancelled. I wasn’t able to travel and be with my wife when she delivered.
The good part is that I eventually managed to get a flight back to Ukraine. I first saw my son when he was two months old. I guess one day my wife will forgive me and see the funny side.