'So grateful and so speechless': Ukrainian refugees get settled in Nova Scotia

2022-06-04 03:31:30 By : Ms. Judy Lv

Ukrainians who arrived in Halifax Thursday night are expressing gratitude for the opportunity to come to Canada.

“Great thank you to all Canadians. Especially to Nova Scotians,” said Mariia Dibrova on Friday.

Dozens of people greeted the government chartered plane carrying 319 Ukrainians fleeing war Thursday night at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

Each passenger was given a Nova Scotia tartan scarf and a warm welcome.

“So grateful and so speechless about that. All people were so welcoming to us and very kind,” Dibrova said.

“They're willing to give you a scarf, a water, whatever you need. That was impressive,” said Yuliia Mynkh. “Really impressive.”

Of the 319 people who landed in Halifax Thursday night, about 200 will stay in Nova Scotia.

The Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) says it's assessing what's needed.

“What their background is, their educational background is, language ability, employment history, needs of their family because we understand we're not just settling one person but often several people in a family,” said Jennifer Watts, CEO of ISANS.

The next few days involve orientation and getting set up with everything from bank accounts to social insurance numbers.

“Beginning to think about your housing options, and then understand the opportunities that are available in terms of language programs, but also connecting into employment specialists,” Watts said.

While many Maritimers have opened up their homes, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) is coordinating its own homestay effort.

Its aim is to help match people with housing needs to host families after the 14 days of accommodation provided by the federal government.

“Our program will require police checks. So if you're thinking of hosting I would like you to consider applying for a police check,” said Lyubov Zhyznomirska, vice-president of the UCC N.S. Branch.

Zhyznomirska was also celebrating Friday after a newcomer was hired at a restaurant.

“A restaurant owner just gave a job to someone who's been here for two weeks and the woman has come from Luhansk, so it's very special,” she said.

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