Inna Sopronchuk

Inna Sopronchuk

My name is Inna Sopronchuk, and I am a proud Ukrainian woman.

I grew up in a village near the Black Sea in the beautiful Kherson region of Ukraine. Raised in a family of educators, my mother’s influence sparked my passion for our country, poetry, and our native language. Motivated by these traits, I pursued studies at the linguistics faculty, embarking on a career as a Ukrainian language teacher for second language learners eight years ago. This passion has evolved into creating video lessons on social media, authoring textbooks, designing flashcards, and launching online courses.

Since February 24, 2022, my mission to promote Ukrainian language and culture has taken on greater significance‚ I have been advocating for its preservation globally. Enduring the hardships of living under Russian occupation during the initial month of the war, I faced grave risks as the wife of a special forces soldier and an educator. Yet, I persisted in sharing the truth about the war through social and international media.

Life under occupation presented formidable challenges. Many in my native city suffered from starvation, humanitarian crises, and a scarcity of essential supplies due to Russian blockades. Inspired by the bravery of female friends who volunteered to aid those in urgent need, I sought ways to contribute. One sleepless night amid missile strikes, a spark of inspiration struck as a photo of Stephen King donning a “I stand with Ukraine” t-shirt popped onto my news feed. I thought to myself “That’s a brilliant idea! I’ll create a charity store with Ukrainian merch”. Within two weeks, the initiative took flight, accumulating a remarkable £131,016 in profit by April 2024, and continues to grow!

Life’s challenges are unpredictable, yet I truly believe that amidst the darkness, there remains light. My mission to promote the Ukrainian language has not only saved my life but bestowed it with newfound purpose.

Fleeing the occupation, I temporarily resided in Western Ukraine before seizing an opportunity to teach the Ukrainian language at Oxford University. To tell the truth, Oxford didn’t invite me. I sent a brave email to REES (Russian and East European Studies) Antony’s College, offering my expertise in Ukrainian, which they graciously accepted, giving me the honour of pioneering the Ukrainian Language at such a prestigious institute. Meanwhile, I continued expanding my online school, “Speak Ukrainian,” educating students worldwide.

During my time in the UK, I encountered numerous individuals eager to connect with Ukrainian language and culture. Partnering with a British friend, Candice, we launched London’s first Ukrainian speaking club in May 2023. This initiative not only resonated with foreigners learning Ukrainian but also fostered a sense of community among Ukrainians living in the UK. Its goal is to promote the Ukrainian language and enhance its resilience.

One year on as a refugee, I launched my first offline courses for beginner and pre-intermediate students. Alongside these educational endeavours, I actively engage in raising awareness about Ukraine’s plight, participating in conferences and forums dedicated to the Ukrainian-Russian war. Presently, I am writing a book recounting my hometown’s story of occupation and my experiences during the war.

While war shattered my life, turning my life upside down and leaving me traumatised, it also bestowed resilience and purpose. It made me stronger and provided an opportunity to share my school’s story and extend my mission globally.

Looking forward to the future, I’m excited to be traveling to the USA, to again teach Ukrainian, but this time at the University of Texas. All the while developing my Ukrainian language school, aiding more individuals in need through my charity project, and furthering plans to establish a Ukrainian language and cultural centre upon my planned return to Kyiv in May 2025.

Life’s challenges are unpredictable, yet I truly believe that amidst the darkness, there remains light. My mission to promote the Ukrainian language has not only saved my life but bestowed it with newfound purpose. Thus, I am committed to investing my time, efforts, and knowledge in advancing the cause and victory of my beloved Ukraine.

Pioneer 20 2024 - Top 20 refugee women in the EU

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