With a plane full of 300 Ukrainian refugees fleeing violence in their home country scheduled to land in Winnipeg on Monday, communities across Manitoba are preparing to welcome newcomer families seeking a safe life in Manitoba.
In Dauphin, which has a significant Ukrainian population already, community donations have led to the creation of the Parkland Ukrainian Family Fund for refugees looking to start a new life in the Parkland region.
“When the war started, we couldn’t really believe it would actually happen,” Dauphin’s Don Tarrant told 680 CJOB’s The Start.
“We thought about, what could we really do? … The devastation was massive, and there’s people that are going to have to leave the country. … So from there, we thought, Dauphin and the Parkland area is a very good place for people to settle. The culture is very strong here — sort of like home.
“Right now, we have four families that we’ve settled in and another seven or eight families we’ve accepted, and they’re all in various stages of coming over.”
Dauphin resident Stephen Jaddock said support for the refugees has been strong in the region since the war began.
“Everybody was hoping that the war would maybe end quickly, and that doesn’t seem to be happening, so it’s really all hands on deck trying to support Ukrainians.
“We want them to feel the warmth and acceptance that we have for them in our area.”
Jaddock said some folks who’ve already come here from Ukraine were pleasantly surprised to see some Dauphin residents speaking fluently in their own language.
“Some of them, their English is quite good, but when (people) start to talk to them in Ukrainian, I believe right away they’re more comfortable, more relaxed.”
Earlier this month, Manitoba premier Heather Stefanson said officials have confirmed a federally arranged chartered plane will land in Winnipeg on May 23.
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