The Ukraine Nightingale project is the product of a group of South Okanagan ordinary citizens who have one common goal: to make a difference in the lives of displaced Ukrainian people impacted by war. We recognize that we can do little to change what is happening in Ukraine but believe that we can impact the lives of people who are trying to rebuild their lives in our rural community. The group consists of a diverse group of volunteers. We are united in our concern for the safety of these families and are motivated by a universal humanity, and committed to help them safely settle in Canada for as long as is required.
The Ukraine Nightingale Project is an all volunteer organization, formed in the South Okanagan, for the purpose of bringing Ukrainian families who have been displaced by war, to our South Okanagan communities where we will provide them with the necessary support to start a new life in Canada. Our groups will assist with flights, housing, food, English language education, transportation, navigating government paperwork, assistance with employment and health care (including physical, dental and emotional health). The goals of these efforts is to support these families to integrate successfully into the community.
Our project plans to raise funds at the local level, and to partner with other charitable organizations so that we have the necessary funds available to be able to assist in covering basic needs while the families acclimatize and settle into their new surroundings.
BC registered Non-profit Society: Number S0078034
How You Can Get Involved
Contact us to get involved
Assisting families to integrate into Canada is a huge undertaking. Requisite paperwork with all levels of government is daunting for most of us, but if you factor in the trauma that these individuals are dealing with along with the fact that most speak no English, it is imperative to provide help for them so that they can negotiate an orderly completion of government required tasks.
At the Ukraine Nightingale Project, we need lots of individuals to work in different areas. Some may wish to be involved at a deeper level, while others will be more comfortable limiting their involvement to specific and well defined tasks. We feel we will be able to provide meaningful volunteering opportunities to suit a wide range of interests. We are in this together and we are all volunteers.
Our logo represents a nightingale. The nightingale has long been invoked in Ukrainian culture as “a creator of sweet sounds, a builder of homes, and a harbinger of spring. In Ukrainian the word for nightingale, sсоловейко – soloveiko, is a term of personal endearment.” The nightingale is an icon of Ukraine.
The mission of the UNP is to support Ukrainian families displaced by war to rebuild their lives in Canada, We will strive to ensure them a safe living environment, and to provide them support in health, education and employment. We commit to doing this with respect, compassion and integrity.
The Ukraine Nightingale project is the brainchild of a group of South Okanagan citizens with a diverse group of individuals, all with one common goal. We wish to make a positive impact in the lives of people who are being driven from their home by a senseless conflict. We are concerned for their safety, motivated by a universal humanity, and committed to help them settle in Canada for as long as is required.
Some of Our Families
Vita and her family were in Kiev when the war broke out. Her husband Oleg, a lawyer who had never held a gun, joined the armed forces almost immediately. Vita was working for a large company, EVO and most of the employees fled Kiev when the war started. Vita was providing sole customer support from home for several weeks, and then word came down that Russia wanted to take Kiev. Vita, Ustym and Vlada spent every night in bomb shelters.
Vita was afraid of driving out of Kiev to the border. She was afraid of bombs, running out of fuel, and perhaps being arrested. When the neighbours windows were blown out, Vita decided they needed to leave for the safety of her children. The neighbour drove them to the railway in Kiev with just what they could carry in backpacks. They took their pet hamster, called Mouse, with them on the journey to Lviv.
From Lviv they went to Chernopil to say goodbye to Vita’s mother and brother. (Mouse stayer withy Vita’s family in Chernopil). The next stop was Warsaw and then on to Prague, in the Czech Republic. Vienna was next and finally to Canada – Drummondville, Quebec. They realized very quickly that they did not want to learn French and needed to be in an English speaking part of the country, so headed to B C. (Port Moody). They finally had an offer of a loaned house in Pentiction and they are now settled there. Vita will start a new job at the National Research Council on March 8th
Oleksandr and Olena
After one year apart, Oleksandr was finally able to join Olena and their two daughters Veronika and Viktoriia, arriving in Kelowna in November. The family cat, Vasya, travelled with Oleksandr from Ukraine to Bucharest, Frankfurt to Vancouver and finally Kelowna. The family is overjoyed to be together and UNP is delighted to have assisted. We wish them well.
Yuliia and her family are from Chernihiv and fled in April as the Russians bombed their neighbourhood. After spending six weeks in a bomb shelter, they made the painful decision to leave everything they cared about, and sought safety first in Poland. Their journey took them to Spain and finally to France where they waited for six long months to obtain visas under the CUAET program. Finally, on November 4th, they arrived in Canada.
Their arrival is bittersweet, as Yuliia’s husband remains behind to defend Ukraine. The four children are all in school and busy learning a new language and adjusting to our Canadian customs and the winter weather. Their grandparents are enjoying being settled and in one place.
The Ukraine Nightingale Project has welcomed and supported them in all their needs. Housing was the most acute need for the family of seven, and was secured for November 1st. Basic material needs such as food and clothing were gathered, and then we moved on to the maze of required government paperwork and applications.
The family is rapidly assimilating into the community, and recently took their turn volunteering at Oliver Kiwanis and the Food Bank, both organizations that they have been beneficiaries of. The future for this family will be bright. There has been a great deal of support from the community, and we see the kindness and acceptance they have been shown. We expect that
they will remain in our community and become great contributors to the rich and diverse fabric of the South Okanagan. We look forward to Yuliia’s husband being able to join his family.
Lasha, Sally, Milena and Amiran
The family of four, Lasha, Sally, Milena and Amiran, have finally arrived in Keremeos after a ten month wait for a misplaced visa. Lasha and Sally were born in Georgia, and spent the last 25 years in the Kherson region as grain farmers.
When the Russian army burned out their farm, they fled back to the country of their birth, as they still have some family there. (Ironically, they fled Georgia as young teens when Russia invaded.) Unfortunately, they were not permitted to work in Georgia, and the children could not attend school while they were waiting to come to Canada.
Ukraine Nightingale Project, and the Wyse family who offered a home, decided to reach out to our MP, Richard Cannings for help. Mr. Cannings and his assistant, Jula Sukumar, both worked every angle we could think of, and ultimately decided to involve Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser’s office. After a couple more months, the passport and visa were located and sent back to the VAC in Tbilisi. This family have close relatives that are currently with a host family on Mayne Island. The two families are joyously awaiting a reunion which we all hope will happen soon.
Become a Volunteer Today
Assisting families to integrate into Canadian life is a huge undertaking. Requisite paperwork with all levels of government is daunting for most of us, but if you factor in the trauma that these individuals are dealing with along with the fact that most speak no English, it is imperative to provide them with the help they need to negotiate the many challenges that they face. Be a part of this amazing opportunity to help these families achieve independence and to become contributing members of our communities. There are many opportunities and ways for volunteers to contribute, from helping with driving to teaching basic day to day skills that are necessary for these families to operate in their new and sometimes challenging environments. You can make a difference! Become a part of our volunteer team – we need you!
Helping Ukrainian Newcomers Find Their Place
We commit to:
• procure the financial resources necessary to support our families for up to 6 months, or until such time as they are self-sufficient;
• identify, evaluate and utilize government and community resources available to our families;
• act as advocates for our families with regard to media and other media exchanges.
Get in Touch. Get Involved
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We will make every effort to get back to you in a timely manner.