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Ukrainian refugees: B.C. studying membership connects children, households

When college begins up once more subsequent month, there will likely be some kids attending courses in Canada for the primary time after fleeing the conflict of their residence nation of Ukraine. In Burnaby, B.C. a few of these children and their households are getting an opportunity to attach as a part of a specifically fashioned studying membership — and their bond goes past books.

Armstrong elementary college trainer Iuliia Sukhina-Volkova has been heading up the membership for youthful college students each weekend since mid-June, on the Cameron and Tommy Douglas libraries in Burnaby.

“I actually wished to do one thing that might assist these children have a constructive expertise,” she stated. “And I believe they’re actually having fun with it.”

The coordinator of the Burnaby college district’s settlement employees in-school program Natalya Khan stated there are 50 college students registered who’ve arrived from Ukraine since February.

“I do know that we’ve just a few extra ready to be registered as effectively, when the varsity reopens, so we do count on this quantity to rise,” she stated. “About two-thirds of the registered kids are elementary college age.”


Sukhina-Volkova contacted Khan hoping to assist not directly, and the studying membership was created.

Khan stated initially they thought they could preserve the membership going until the top of July, however extra households stored arriving.

“We determined one of the best ways for the trainer to assist the children can be to supply them a chance to be collectively, to study collectively, to play collectively,” she stated. “Simply to be children.”

Sukhina-Volkova stated the libraries have been joyful to assist as effectively, and the households have been excited concerning the thought.

“A few of them got here in Might, some in June, a few of them got here two weeks in the past,” she stated. “In order that they have been tremendous joyful that they may discover a place the place the children might meet buddies.”

Sukhina-Volkova stated she begins the membership with a spherical of charades, after which reads a narrative which the children write or draw about afterwards.

“Most of them don’t have any English, so I learn a narrative in Ukrainian or in Russian to them, and typically in English, as a result of all of them need to study English they usually need to type of prepare for varsity as a lot as attainable,” she stated. “After which on the finish we normally attempt to discover 10 to fifteen minutes once they simply go to the library and decide their books.”

Khan stated after the elementary college teams began, a highschool trainer additionally provided to assist and is now working a studying membership for older children from Ukraine.

“We discover that for youngsters, it’s much more vital to seek out friends and grow to be buddies with each other,” Khan stated. “Many households come even from the identical metropolis, however earlier than they got here to the studying membership or conversational membership, they didn’t learn about each other.”


The scholars aren’t the one ones making buddies. Khan stated the dad and mom have additionally made connections.

“When it occurred, we have been very joyful to see that,” she stated. “How they make buddies, how they share sources and the way they really feel comfy and pleased with each other.”

Olha Ilnyntskayia got here to Canada together with her six year-old son Erik in Might. She stated the households drastically admire how the membership has introduced them collectively.

“We’re alone right here, and that is our household,” she stated. “Our youngsters are buddies, we’re buddies…it’s one thing like a giant household with people who find themselves not your loved ones, and you’re collectively. It’s good.”

Khan stated she wish to see extra volunteers who might present language classes for adults, in addition to mentors at workplaces who might assist clarify the variations in a selected subject for somebody with the identical skill-set from Ukraine. She added they’ve two teams for adults at the moment, and assist them join with free packages and different sources.

“They weren’t ready to depart their nation. They needed to go away on a really quick discover. We now have many households whose English degree is on the newbie degree. It’s laborious for them to seek out jobs primarily based on their earlier degree again in Ukraine,” she stated.

“It’s a problem, however they’re resilient households. They went by means of so much…the constructive angle they usually manner they method the issues actually make me hopeful that they’ll overcome no matter comes their manner.” 

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