Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Two years since Russian invasion, Ottawa arrival hub for Ukrainians facing ‘critical’ funding shortage

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In the two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, thousands of displaced Ukrainians have found solace in Ottawa where they are beginning to rebuild their lives.


In classrooms at the Maidan Market, a volunteer-led initiative run by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Ukrainians are learning English and how to adapt in their new country.


Yevheniia Rozhkova came to Ottawa nearly a year ago, with her husband.


“It was it was a shock for me,” she tells CTV News Ottawa.


“I couldn’t stay in Kharkiv because every day Russia damaged our city. Everyday, I heard sirens and saw attacks. Everyday I saw rockets,” said Rozhkova.


She is one of approximately 3,000 Ukrainians, who have received support from the Maidan Market, which opened in May 2022, according to manager Svitlana Maksiuta.


The centre relies entirely on donations and is facing a “critical funding shortage,” according to a GoFundMe page. The non-profit is looking to raise $60,000 by the end of March to continue providing its services.


“We are a welcome hub for Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion. So we are the first point for Ukrainians arriving in Ottawa,” said Maksiuta.


The drop in centre, located in the Westgate mall, assists displaced Ukrainians with finding employment, housing, navigating financial and school systems, mental health support and answering questions.


“There are so many cases of people arriving on their own, mothers coming with their children and also leaving their husbands behind or families being split with parents still in Ukraine,” she said


“It’s heartbreaking.”


  

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