Now, after more than a month since the Russian war on Ukraine started, Mariia is left with nothing.
Her parents, an economics professor and a lawyer, have been fighting for their lives in Kyiv, while losing all their possessions and wealth.
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Mariia is currently getting by due to donations from her British friends, as her parents are unable to provide for her anymore.
On a GoFundMe page she has set up, Mariia wrote: “The war has turned my life upside down. Just last month, I had a home, a happy family to always return to, and enjoyed my engineering degree in Sheffield.
“Today, I have nothing except faith. I message my family and friends to ask if they are still alive every day. My family has lost their ability to support me, and now live under shelling.”
If she doesn’t raise the £3,000 needed for her visa extension and health service fee for the duration of her PhD, she will have to leave the UK within weeks of her graduation date in the summer.
Mariia said: “Ukrainian students are not waived from visa extension fees. Essentially, I cannot start my PhD without this visa.
“Also, if I raise more funds than that, they will help me with costs of moving to Warwick, and with my rent before I start my PhD course and receive my stipend.”
So far, Mariia has raised about £1,300 and is very thankful people are trying to make her dreams come true.
She said: “The response has been amazing. My friends’ parents have been so kind that my parents back home were crying when I told them.
“Both people I know and don’t know were donating to help me. I am very grateful for that.”
Despite the war taking everything from her, the student is positive and looking forward to her future in the UK, if she can reach her fundraising goal.
She said: “I’m so thankful for the kindness and support, everyone’s help is so appreciated. I hope to start my life again, from scratch, despite all my losses”.
At 3am on February 24, the day of the first Russian attack on Ukraine, Mariia received a text message from her mother. It said: “Russians attacked. They are bombing us. I love you.”
She said she feels ‘helpless’ and worried about her parents, who remain in Kyiv.
They left their family home with just a few clothes, some food and their cat.
It is feared that their home has been or will be destroyed by Russian missiles and shelling.
Visit here to donate to Mariia’s page.