By Hannah MacLeod
On Sunday, July 17, three Ukrainian families were warmly welcomed to Kincardine with a barbeque in Victoria Park.
Music was provided by * and burgers and hotdogs were provided by the Lion’s Club. The afternoon paired with beautiful weather provided the perfect opportunity for the families to meet each other as well as meet many friendly faces from Kincardine.
The families arrived a month ago, seeking refuge from the war currently uprooting their lives in the Ukraine. The Multicultural Association Perth-Huron brought two of the three families over. This involved arranging their flights, paying for their tickets, meeting them at the airport, putting them up for three days in a hotel and finally bringing them to Stratford, where they stayed in yet another hotel until they could be introduced to their host families. The Association assisted in taking the families to Service Ontario for their health cards, Service Ontario for their SIN numbers and to apply for their grant. They also found online English language training for them.
With all of this under their belts, these families are eager to join the community and are currently seeking jobs. One family is still seeking a host family as the last family refused them due to being unvaccinated.
The families will be relying heavily on our community to help them for their first few months. While the Association provides everything they will need, they are always looking for volunteers. You can help by intergrating them into the community, introducing them to people, taking them to church or local places, helping them to buy groceries, assisting them in registering their children for school or taking them to London for their 90 days health check, required after arriving.
Once the term with the host families has come to an end, they will need assistance finding housing, furniture and other necessities.
One of the refugees is Oleg, who is from Odessa. He has three children; two boys and one daughter, ages 6-12. His wife’s name is Natasha, who is a nurse. Oleg worked as a medical doctor. They moved just as the war was starting from Odessa and Poland, but say the war has completely upended their lives.
“They like Kincardine very much, and found the community very welcoming,” said Steve Landers, on behalf of the family. “Oleg is 45, and Natasha is 39. In Ukraine before the war, they had their own house, and Oleg had his own clinic.”
“Ukraine is a disaster area right now,” he continued. “Oleg plans to return to Ukraine once the war is over. Geza brought the family from the refugee in Poland, and they are grateful to have met him. When he met them in Poland, he took them to a hotel and got them a shower. He also gave them clothing.”