How more than 50 Ukrainian child refugees are adapting to life in Scotland

Words and video report by ITV News Scotland Reporter Louise Scott who went along with the group on their trip

More than 50 orphans rescued from Ukraine are settling into their new lives in Scotland.

The children and young people were rescued from Dnipro by UK charities when their homes were no longer safe, due to the ongoing war.

ITV News documented their journey to Scotland and caught up with the children and their carers six weeks on.

The group have been taking trips across the country and the children's excitement is clear to see for this excursion.

The Maid of the Forth is a boat trip, taking in the iconic bridges across the Forth, before travelling along to the island of Inchcolm.

Credit: ITV News

On the journey, the children captured new sights on their phones; the scenery different to what they're used to in Ukraine. A pod of seals caught their attention and they braved the cold winds, staying on the open top deck of the boat.

Despite not speaking the same language, the group are feeling remarkably settled in their new temporary home.

17-year-old Vlad previously told ITV News on the Polish border that he just wanted a normal life.

While on Inchcolm he said: "I think I have adapted pretty quickly, I've even got used to the weather. Sometimes I walk about in a t-shirt, but right now it's a bit windy.

"I liked the safari park. The castles are very interesting because teachers hadn't taught us many of those things about British history. I liked it."

For the charity workers who helped rescue them, it's a moment to pause and reflect on how far they've come.

Chairman of Dnipro Kids in Scotland, Steven Carr said: "Days like this will give them good memories through difficult times so it’s great to be involved.

"The Scottish people and the organisations that have offered us excursions and trips and everything it's just fantastic." 

But the journey has taken its toll on everyone. Many of the full time carers, or "orphan mothers" as they're called, had to leave behind their own families.

And when the day’s activities come to an end, it’s those mums who carry the heaviest burden.

One of them, Nadiya Kudriavtseva, said: "Yes, the children are worried, because they left their friends, and schools, and have to answer the question about why people are treating each other with such hostility, and why there's a war in Ukraine.

"It's difficult for children to understand. We are very worried. We try to hide from the children when we cry. All the orphan mums are secretly crying."

Siblings Julia and Dima are 18 and 16, and so are aware of the situation in their home country. They are supporting each other and hoping of a brighter future.

Dima said: "I would like the war to be over soon and we go back home."

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While Julia, who is hoping to be an economist, added: "Right now I dream to pass exams and finish school successfully."

After they've explored the island and eaten lunch, it's time to head back to the mainland.

Exhaustion sets in and many take a moment to close their eyes. They’ve been through so much over the past few months, while still young themselves.

But in their dreams, one day they will be reunited with the city they call home and Scotland, will be the place that was once their sanctuary.