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Ukraine: Voices from Ottawa — ‘No matter how good or normal or peaceful our life is, it never hurts to look beyond our borders’


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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 émigrés, 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.

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Simon Clifford

“My son, Ryan, plays for the Ottawa West Golden Knights. The team is made up of nine- and 10-year-olds and they’re currently in the playoffs.

“We’ve encouraged the kids to put blue and yellow tape on their sticks to raise awareness and to show that the team stands for Ukraine.

“It’s a bit of a personal thing for me because my best friend in high school is a second-generation Canadian from Ukraine. My heart goes out to him — a lot of his older relatives have lived all their lives in Ukraine. I don’t think any have been killed, wounded or displaced, but certainly all the ancestry, the traditions, the culture, the memories and the language are being deeply affected by the war. I think of him every day because his family is going through the wringer right now.

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“I saw the hockey-tape idea on media somewhere else, possibly in the States, and it seemed like a reasonably straightforward thing for the kids to do to raise awareness and make them aware of what’s going on in the world without being too doom-and-gloom, while giving them something that was attainable and do-able.

“It also makes them aware that life in Canada is pretty good. The hardships that we face in a peaceful country, and a democratic country, without a hostile neighbour, are not so great. So this just raises awareness for them to be knowledgeable that there are other people in the world who don’t have it as good as us and who are going through a very tough time right now. It just opens their minds to the idea that, no matter how good or normal or peaceful our life is, it never hurts to look beyond our borders and be aware of people who are in trouble right now who need our support, whether it’s financially, materialistically or emotionally.

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“And maybe somewhere, somehow, somebody in Europe or Ukraine is reading a newspaper or a media outlet and sees that some young team in North America is flying the Ukrainian colours in support of their country, and it might just put a little bit of a smile on their face in a tough time.”

bdeachman@postmedia.com

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Numerous groups and organizations are collecting donations in support and relief of Ukraine residents and refugees, including the following:

Canada-Ukraine Foundation
cufoundation.ca/

Canadian Medical Students Aid for Ukraine
redcross.ca/UkraineCrisis/MedAid4Ukraine

The Canadian Red Cross: Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal
redcross.ca/donate

Come Back Alive
comebackalive.in.ua/

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Doctors Without Borders
doctorswithoutborders.org/what-we-do/countries/ukraine

National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) special account to raise funds for Ukraine Armed forces
bank.gov.ua/en/news/all/natsionalniy-bank-vidkriv-spetsrahunok-dlya-zboru-koshtiv-na-potrebi-armiyi

UNHCR Canada: Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis
give.unhcr.ca/page/100190/donate

UNICEF Canada
secure.unicef.ca/page/98630/donate/1?locale=en-US

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

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