Hi, I'm Cathy Tasse, and I'm fundraising for the Malieiev family, who will be living in my home. I am a recent widow of a great man of Ukrainian-Italian descent, Jeff Tasse. Last year, we watched the news with horror of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and wished we could help in some meaningful way, but Jeff was dying of cancer. He passed away last October, and I had an empty heart in a big house. But I had a whole new way to help. Here is our story.... Meet the Malieievs… A mom and dad with two children, they had a home and a good life in Kharkiv, a city of 1.4 million people (Ukraine’s second largest). Then the Russia invasion devastated that city and all its people. Only 25 miles from the border with Russia, Kharkiv was overtaken and suffered greatly at the hands of Russian occupiers for several weeks. The Malieiev family escaped from their home on the first day of the fighting, and luckily they did. Russian bombs and missiles, intentionally targeting civilian areas, flattened their home and virtually every home and structure on the block they lived on in Kharkiv. “This family was fortunate to escape with their lives,” Skalsky says. “Others in Kharkiv have not been so lucky.” The global non-governmental organization Amnesty International concurs with Skalsky. It investigated Russia’s brutality in the Kharkiv area and describes it as war crimes. “The people of Kharkiv have faced a relentless barrage of indiscriminate attacks in recent months, which killed and injured hundreds of civilians,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, last summer. “People have been killed in their homes and in the streets, in playgrounds and in cemeteries, while queueing for humanitarian aid, or shopping for food and medicine. The repeated use of widely banned cluster munitions is shocking, and a further indication of utter disregard for civilian lives,” Rovera adds. “The Russian forces responsible for these horrific attacks must be held accountable for their actions, and victims and their families must receive full reparations.” The Malieievs fled west, first to Lviv in Western Ukraine. Eventually, they were granted Temporary Protected Status by the U.S. State Department, and they traveled to Stuttgart, Germany, to await a sponsor family in the United States. And they have waited there for more than two months. Volodymyr Malieiev worked as a company driver, as well as many other jobs, in Kharkiv. He also volunteered with the war effort. His wife Oleksandra was an accountant there. They have two children, Emma age 14, and Platon age 9. At the very beginning of February, the State Dept. approved Roman and Diana Skalsky’s application to serve as sponsors for the Malieiev family. Roman will be going to New York City to greet the family at JFK Airport when they arrive in the U.S. from Germany, on February 23. The next day, he’ll bring the Malieievs to my home, where they will stay for their first six months in Northeast Ohio. Filling an Empty Nest On February 24, precisely one year after Russia began its efforts to conquer and eradicate Ukraine, the Malieiev family will be safely away from the horrors of war when they begin living in my family home on Jefferson Way in Westlake. I believe I can help bring about a story with a happy ending for the Malieievs. I have been communicating with them via a social media application called Viber, a phone and messaging app with more than a billion users worldwide. It’s an app Ukrainians favor because it’s both free and secure. I’ve gotten to know this family via Viber, and they are just a joy. They are earnestly studying English, and beginning to learn about Cleveland too in our talks. I’m so looking forward to providing my home and my help to them as they seek refuge in Northeast Ohio. Everybody Wins This is an ‘everybody wins’ situation from my perspective. I live alone in a big empty nest. I love my place in Westlake, and I certainly don’t plan to sell it anytime soon, but space in the home is going unused. Helping bring the Malieievs to safety here is good for them, and it’ll be good for me, and it’ll also be good for the house to be used this way. It’s going to be a blessing for both them and for me. I can provide their home while they begin to rebuild their lives. Please help us by donating for them to buy a reliable used car and new computer. They are starting over completely and need absolutely everything. Thank you!!