Ognizlata Yeletenko

Active Essex

Spotlight Saturday

The war in Ukraine, is full of horror, disgust, and anguish. But this is a story of hope and kindness; truly showing the power physical activity has in bringing people together.

Ognizlata Yeletenko, is one of millions of refugees who fled from Ukraine after the country was invaded by Russia last year. Sponsored by a family in Burnham on Crouch, Ognizlata chose to give her time in the UK a real focus and has been committed to pursuing her passion. As a qualified yoga and belly dancing teacher in Ukraine, she wanted to give back to the community and share her love of movement with other local residents.

Whilst attending the Ukrainian Community Hub in Maldon, Ognizlata was introduced to Maldon’s Find Your Active Community Connector, Amy. Amy helped her set up the classes, promote them to her local area and supported her in applying for funding through Active Maldon. This has provided Ognizlata with her anchor among her community to provide a new opportunity that is a little different for local residents.

Ognizlata is so grateful for the support she has been offered and added; “I have a real passion for teaching people yoga and belly dancing, and I have loved meeting lots of new people who have joined my classes. For me, my main aim is to help others enjoy the benefits of being active, by creating a warm, welcoming, and friendly atmosphere for anyone who wants to come along and get to know others in the community.”

Amy Melton, Maldon’s Find Your Active Community Connector has been proud to support Ognizlata in her endeavours and commented: “It has been a pleasure supporting Ognizlata in starting up classes in Burnham on Crouch. From the first time I met her, it was clear that she was so passionate about yoga and belly dancing and just wants other people to experience the joy and benefits of being active. I was able to try one of Ognizlata’s classes at Maldon U-Fest and I came away feeling energised and calm and I know that the other participants felt the same way. It has been great watching Ognizlata grow in confidence since she came to the UK and I am so pleased that she has now expanded and is running classes in new areas too.”

With many refugees at risk of social isolation, Ognizlata has embedded herself firmly within her community and exudes a drive to ensure everyone has the opportunities to get active and try something new.

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