The shots being fired in Ukraine have been heard, and felt, around the world — by residents there, by expats, by the sons and daughters of emigrés, and by people with no direct connection to the country who are nonetheless deeply troubled by what’s taking place. We’re reaching out to people in the Ottawa area to learn their thoughts and stories.
“I have a cousin who is 25 and lives in Ternopil, and I’ve been staying in contact with him. I know he was looking for bullet-proof vests — and he’s so young and it’s so scary just to wake up and not know what’s going to happen that day. We stay in touch on Facebook Messenger, and we gave him our home address just in case he loses contact or can’t charge his phone or can’t call. Or if he has to send us anything.
“But every time I see him post something on Instagram, it’s like a breath of fresh air and a weight off my shoulders because I know he’s still alive. We can’t keep in contact constantly — he’s busy training, looking for things, for support — so if he doesn’t answer my message for a while, I’m worried: ‘Are you OK? What’s going on?’
“I’m a third-generation Canadian-Ukrainian. My mom was born and grew up in the prairies and eventually moved here.
“As an adult, I studied Ukrainian language, history and politics, so I’ve been watching what’s been happening really closely, and I feel a strong connection to the country even though I’ve never been and even though I’m more Canadian than Ukrainian, and showing up to these events has been super important for me, and staying in contact with my family in Ukraine and showing them that we’re supporting them as many ways as we can from so far away. I’ve donated money to the Red Cross, I’ve attended rallies, I’ve been sharing other resources for my non-Ukrainian friends, and even my Ukrainian friends who may not know where to go, so they can help as well, by donating or dropping off supplies.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Numerous groups and organizations are collecting donations in support and relief of Ukraine residents and refugees, including the following:
Canadian Medical Students Aid for Ukraine
The Canadian Red Cross: Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal
Come Back Alive
Doctors Without Borders
National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) (a special account to raise funds for Ukraine armed forces)
UNHCR Canada: Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis
Additionally, other groups seeking funds can be found on the Ukrainian Canadian Congress’s website, at ucc.ca/2022/03/03/where-to-donate-to-support-ukraine