Children displaced by the war in Ukraine, who have come to Kelowna and started school, are loving it.
Less than a week at their new school, the two children have made friends in their class and wake up in the mornings excited for the new day, said Nina Typusiak, a Kelowna woman housing distant Ukrainian relatives of her husband.
It has been nearly two weeks since Typusiak and her husband opened their home to a mother and her two children fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Typusiak said she received a Facebook message from the family, after the Russian military invaded Ukraine, asking “can you please save our family”. Although relatives of Typusiak’s husband, they had never previously met in person. But that didn’t stop Typusiak from saying yes immediately.
However, the husband of the family had to stay behind in Ukraine.
“Every day he sends me messages thanking me, for keeping his family safe. He wishes he could be in Canada too,” said Typusaik.
Despite their cultural and language differences, Typusiak said that now they feel like one family living together under the same roof.
Glenmore Dental gave the Ukrainian mom a free dental appointment and determined that she requires urgent intervention. Typusaik explained that they are fundraising to cover the costs of the urgent treatment the mother and her children require. E-transfers can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org help cover the cost of dental work and upcoming medical bills.
The community has been incredibly supportive, said Typusiak.
I sight Optometry in Kelowna offered to give free eye exams and glasses.
Their house is full of new toys, bikes, scooters and donated clothing, said Typusiak.
Heather MacKay from Villa Salon gave the three Ukrainians free haircuts to help the kids confident on their first day of school and while joining their new community.
School District 23 and the staff in the international department have been incredible, said Typusiak.
She said that the school district has been welcoming, accommodating and supportive to the family. The children were given all their school supplies and get a hot lunch at school each day.
Their mother is currently enrolled in English courses and once she receives the proper documentation will be able to begin working.
“She is very quiet and doesn’t ask for much,” said Typusiak.
Typusiak said that they are looking into summer camps and activities for the children and welcome suggestions and donations for activities like swimming lessons.
Kelowna Stands with Ukraine and the Bravery Foundation have also been incredibly supportive and accomodating, said Typusaik. They have welcomed the new family and facilitated the distribution of donations to this and other displaced families.