A Ukrainian woman who came to live in York after fleeing the war with Russia has been sharing her experiences with school children in the city - and has now written a book.

Julia Pohutsa, 31, an English and French language teacher from the outskirts of Kiev, was hosted by Tony Bower and his wife Claire under the Homes for Ukraine scheme after she fled the country due to the ongoing war. She returned to Ukraine on May 17.

Since November, she has been delivering talks about her experiences in secondary schools across York with the YoYo Trust charity, which Tony is a part of, which inspires the Christian faith in churches and schools.

Before returning to Ukraine, Julia wrote a book about her experiences, along with poems, prayers, and reflections written by the students she has met, to raise money for a church in Ukraine which helps with homelessness.

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Tony said: “I have never seen Year 9s sitting so quiet and gripped. She is kind, warm, and empathetic, and makes her speeches relatable to those listening.

“Her country is at war, yet she relates her story to what 14 year-olds in York may be going through in their own lives, like personal conflicts or exam stress.

“I have tears in my eyes when I hear her story. She’s matter of fact, honest, and vulnerable, yet she’s so positive, and wants to encourage others to be so.

“She shows how her Christian faith has helped her, she believes that every prayer makes a difference, and she said our prayers for Ukraine give her strength. She teaches forgiveness and her willingness to let go.”

Julia has described how she was woken up by her flat in Ukraine shaking from an explosion, and hearing the shells and combat outside.

Her parents urged her to flee Ukraine for her own safety in March 2022, and she left with her friend, on her mother’s birthday.

She first went to Denmark, but after finding it difficult to find work, she arrived in York in July 2022.

Tony said: “We had a strong desire and compassion to help after seeing the pictures of the conflict on TV. Our son has left home so we had the space.

"She came to us on the hottest day of the year in July, the day of the 40C weather.

“It’s now like she’s part of the family. She came camping with us two weeks after her arrival which she’d never done before.

“She loves York, she loves the history and the beauty of the city, and people’s friendliness.

“She was very busy in York, she taught English and French online and through the council. She volunteered with the church and worked with the Sunflower homes for Ukraine charity.”

Julia's book has not been published yet, but will be available to purchase from the YoYo Trust's website, and Amazon.