‘We have nothing’: Ukrainian family adjusts to new life in B.C.

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A Ukrainian mother and her daughter, forced to flee because of the Russian invasion, are adjusting to a new way of life in Canada and the transition hasn’t been easy.

Olga and Liubov Myrochuk left their home in the city of Irpin, outside of Kyiv, after a neighbour called to say the war was starting.

Olga Myrochuk’s neighbourhood in the city of Irpin, after it was destroyed by Russian shelling.

Olga Myrochuk

Her friend, Zlata Zolotarova, moved to Canada nearly five years ago and is now helping Ukrainians adjust to a new way of life.

“I wanted to help Ukrainians because I’m Ukrainian and it wasn’t difficult because everybody pitched in to help,” she said.

Zolotarova added moving Ukrainian refugees to Canada has been fairly easy, but there have been delays in approving papers. Some refugees who work in trades or speak fluent English are being offered jobs.

Myrochuk’s path will be more difficult.

“There are some jobs like cleaning and construction (here), but I’m looking for a job that matches my education (as a teacher),” she said.

She will also have to figure out how to support her extended family back home, still stuck in a warzone – her sister, brother, mother-in-law and father-in-law.

She also wants to become more proficient in English and write a children’s book, compiling the struggles Ukrainian children have faced during the conflict.

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Myrochuk’s biggest desire is to one day go back to Ukraine, visiting different parts of the country to help children and their families struggling with the after-effects of war.

Despite the obstacles, Myrochuk said she’s thankful to have found such a loving community.

“I’m so thankful for Canada. People are so welcoming.”

Myrochuk said it has been a nice experience to live in the community in Abbotsford as it allows her to feel a sense of normalcy with other families who speak the same language.

However, what’s most paramount, is that everyone in the community relates to the pain and struggle of living through a war. Myrochuk said that bond is something that’s formed a deep connection with people who may have originally been strangers.

For now,  as Myrochuk looks ahead at the future and the numerous obstacles in her path, she said a warm welcome is just one of the many things Canada can provide Ukrainian refugees.

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