A UKRANIAN mother who has turned her life around after fleeing the war-torn country is set to receive a prestigious award.

The Workers' Educational Association (WEA) will award Oksana Viktorova, at its annual award ceremony this evening (Monday, February 12).

A mother of two sons, Ms Viktorova fled war-torn Ukraine for Evesham.



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In pursuit of starting a new life, she began by mastering the English language, and will be the recipient of the WEA gold community contribution award.

Ms Viktorova said: "Nobody knows what can happen next in our lives.

"I was working in the Ukrainian Government and then the war broke out.

"I understood I needed to do something.

"I wanted to find something like I had in Ukraine."

Facing language barriers, she attended English classes provided by the WEA three times a week and volunteered her time at a nearby charity shop.

The fruits of her labour have paid off, securing her a position at the council.

In her role, she provides help to fellow Ukrainian refugees with housing and job searches.

Ms Viktorova added: "Thanks to the courses I did with the WEA, I have my job with Worcester City Council.

"I try to do what I can for my family, for our community, and I’m very happy to do this."

Warwick Neale, community services team manager at the council, said: "Oksana’s such a positive force in the team.

"When you go on courses it gives people that chance to expand on something that will benefit work as well as you."

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Alongside Ms Viktorova, Elen Downward will also be acknowledged with a multiply gold award.

Despite living with Dyspraxia and previous learning setbacks, she progressed to a level two functional skills maths course.

Ms Downward said: "The WEA courses have helped me so much – they've given me confidence in learning again.

"I’m really enjoying the learning and have progressed with my maths."

Simon Parkinson, chief executive of WEA, said: "Congratulations to both Oksana and Elen on their remarkable achievements.

"Their stories showcase exactly why adult education is so important and that it is never too late to learn."