WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Next month will mark one year since the war began in Ukraine. Millions of Ukrainians fled; some refugees made their way to Kansas.

“I already invited all my friends, and nobody wanted to come,” said Ludmila Dickerson.

Dickerson is originally from Kyiv, Ukraine. She lives in Andover with her husband, Gary.

After months of asking, Dickerson’s childhood friend and her family agreed to come to Kansas.
“It took a lot. It took them to commit to coming to the states. It’s not been easy,” she said.

“I think the final straw was they didn’t want to leave their country. But when they saw a missile get destroyed by an intercepted missile, that was enough for them. They said it’s time to go. They have children,” Gary added in.

The family of four hopped on a plane for the first time. They arrived in Wichita the day after Christmas.

“We’ve already got them signed up for small things like food stamps and assistance to get them going, and IRC is going to help them with apartments and finding a job,” Gary said. “The next step is transportation. IRC is going to offer them public transportation at no cost.”

They are just a couple of the hundreds of refugees the International Rescue Committee (IRC) helps.

“We lost our house in Ukraine, our city in Ukraine now is invaded, and we think about starting new life in USA,” said Oleksangra Lukashova.

Lukashova fled to the US while pregnant with her husband and son.

After a challenging transition, IRC decided to host a Ukrainian Christmas on Friday.

“There has been a lot of trauma and pain, but today is about celebrating. It’s about, you know, making sure that they make the connections that they need. So they can feel supported in the community,” said Yeni Silva, IRC Executive Director. “We really care about every single population that comes to our city. We definitely want to make sure that they feel welcome and that we celebrate, you know, their traditions.”

The celebration was filled with traditional food and decorations.

“Memories from Ukraine. It’s really important to remember tradition,” said Lukashova.

A taste of home in their new home.