A UKRAINIAN woman has returned to her homeland from Bognor Regis to begin to build bridges between the communities.
Magdalina Pautze ended her ten years in Britain by flying back to the Eastern European country on Monday.
She is determined to use her time in this country to set up links across the continent with the Ukraine.
Magdalina, 53, who lived in Aldwick Road for most her time in England, said her aim was to break down the stereotypes between the nationalities.
“With this project, I would like to help people build bridges between our communities and to build a long lasting and good relationship.
“We can work together to make our countries better places for living. Sharing our knowledge and experience could be a good benefit for us all,” she said.
She lived in Beregol in the Transcarpathia region of western Ukraine before she left for England in 2004.
She came to Bognor before she moved on to London for two years, where she was homeless for two months, and then the Isle of Wight.
She returned to her previous flat in Bognor last November. But, with the upheaval in Ukraine, believes the time is right for her to go back in spite of her liking for the UK.
She said: “Coming to this country has changed my life for good. The UK made me feel welcome. But I know a lot of people in Ukraine who have the same passion as me.
“I feel it’s my duty to be with my country and my people,” she said. “I have met people who are already doing what I have been planning to do.
“That’s given me the opportunity to make my dream come true and especially when my country is fighting for democracy.
“I don’t have any fear about going back home. I’m going because I feel it is the right thing to do. I have been waiting for this for too long and I’m ready to go.”
She asked people to show their spiritual support for her countrymen and women amid the unrest in the eastern part of Ukraine, where Russian president Vladimir Putin has annexed Crimea in spite of international protests.
“They are fighting for their human right,” she said. “All they want is to be treated with respect and have a decent life. They are friendly and peaceful people.”