Our Story Hosting a Ukrainian Family Seeking Refuge in Canada

Gwen Reimer, Blog Coordinator
Program Director, EIS

August 23, 2022

Read Time: 3 minutes

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We were so sad when we heard that the war had broken out in the Ukraine. When we heard that Ukrainians were seeking refuge in Canada, we decided that we wanted to welcome Ukrainian families into our home. We prepared our home so that they would have a comfortable and private space to call their own while they were living with us.

Needless to say, we were thrilled when we found the first family that we would welcome into our home from the Ukraine, and we eagerly awaited their arrival in Canada.

On June 1, 2022, we were finally able to welcome Volodymyr, Nadia, and their 11-year-old son Ivan at the Winnipeg airport. It’s a day that we will likely never forget. They got off the plane each carrying one backpack and they shared one duffel bag between them. Life reduced to the minimum. After a long trip, they were tired.

Our first stop immediately after their arrival was the Welcome Centre in Winnipeg, where they completed paperwork and were able to get their Manitoba Health Card and Social Insurance Number. After a few hours there, we were finally able to make our way home.

Despite having travelled through the night, Volodymyr and Nadia still had energy left to stop at Walmart and get a few items that they needed. Arriving at our home, we showed them “their” space. They had their own private space; however, we shared the kitchen with them which worked great. Nadia cooked Ukrainian meals and baked delicious cakes.

Volodymyr and Nadia quickly learned where to shop in Steinbach and found their favourite stores, MCC among them.

Many details and errands needed doing, such as setting up a bank account, getting a Manitoba driver’s license, doctor’s appointments, looking for a car, job hunting, and finding a place to live. Thank goodness for google translate, which we utilized for the many appointments that they attended and to communicate with them. We were also very thankful for Steinbach Immigration Centre, who provided them with assistance with things such as creating resumes.

We were in awe of Volodymyr and Nadia’s determination and drive to start their new life in Steinbach, and of their positive and cheerful attitude. Within two weeks of their arrival, they had an apartment and were ready to move out.

At one point we were wondering how we would get all the household items and furniture that they would need for their apartment. Thankfully, the Steinbach community gave generously and we could pick up all that was needed for them at the Southland Church. This was amazing and extremely helpful. So many volunteers doing a wonderful job fulfilling their and others’ wish lists. They were also able to find additional items at garage sales.

It gives us great joy to see Volodymyr, Nadia, and Ivan settled in their own home, learning English, and getting to know people in Steinbach.

All of this could not have been accomplished without the help of the generous people in our community. Thank you so much! It really does take a Village.

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