HONOLULU (KHON2) — A family who survived months in Ukraine during the Russian invasion has relocated to Hawaii. It’s part of a national program to assist refugees.

Now, the family is surviving on aloha spirit.

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The day was Feb. 24. Russian tanks and helicopters rolled through the Ukrainian border — destination: Kyiv.

That’s where Sasha Musiienko and his family called home. His three children attended school at the Kyiv Christian Academy where he was a teacher for 22 years.

“The first few days were very scary as we looked at the news the tanks were already rolling down the main street the main highways.”

Sasha Musiienko, Ukrainian refugee

The Musiienko’s decided to stay and help their community and deliver food to the army which was successful in defending its capital.

Although Kyiv survived, life is still far from normal as war continues in the east.

“The schools are still having a hard time right now. First of all, for the school to be able to operate they have to have a shelter, and if the school doesn’t have a shelter they cannot have classes,” said Musiienko.

That led the Musiienko family east — 7,400 miles to Oahu.

The federal government’s “Uniting for Ukraine” program allowed Musiienko to get a sponsor from friends to become a teacher at Christian Academy in Moanalua.

“That sort of fast tracks the travel permit to allow families from Ukraine to come to the United States, so that’s great it got them here, but the challenge is then they don’t actually get a work permit for several months,” said Chad Germany, Christian Academy head administrator.

For the next two years, these Ukrainian refugees are our neighbors.

“During this time we want to be as helpful as we can and serve with whatever gifts god gave us to serve the community and the school here,” said Musiienko.

A GoFundMe was set up for the Musiienko family for anyone who would like to help support the ohana.

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You can also help by donating other goods or services, furniture, household items, school supplies for
the children or even a temporary place to stay. Email mliow@hawaiineuroscience.com if you can help provide either of these.