London cultural groups gather to support Ukraine

Dances by Children of the London Barvinok Ukrainian Dance Ensemble at Support Ukraine event at Polish Combatants Association Hall. March 27, 2022. Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

Multiple London cultural associations came together to appreciate Ukrainian culture and show their continued support for Ukraine amid the ongoing war with Russia.

On Sunday afternoon at the Polish Combatants Association Hall in London, Ont., the London Multicultural Community Association, London Ukrainian Centre, and organizations representing the Polish, Chinese, and Korean communities came together to raise funds for those impacted by the crisis in Ukraine.

“For us, it’s very frustrating and painful, we can’t play spectators to this big tragedy, so this is why we want to bring everybody together and show our hope and support. This is the least we can do,” said Jack Malkin, president of the London Multicultural Community Association.

Malkin whose mother was born in Ukraine hopes that those who attended Sunday’s event were able to learn more from the Ukrainians in attendance through conversation.

“There is not much we can do. I mean, it’s up to the governments to do what they need to do. Hopefully, they do more, but the people we can support the case, we can disseminate the stories we can donate.”

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For Ukrainian international students, Serhii Maliar and Olena Troichenko, both studying at Fanshawe College, the reality of what is happening in their homeland is all too real.

Troichenko who is in their third semester studying to become an architect said her parents were able to leave just before the war began but most of her family is still in her home city of Odessa.

“They are telling stories that they are sleeping in the hallways every time the sirens go on and it’s quite terrifying. I’m trying to call them every day just to check in on them and it’s it feels horrible honestly, but we are not giving up. I believe that my country will win this war and everything will be back to fine,” she said.

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In his first year studying to be a commercial pilot, Maliar said he is trying to do everything he can to help family back in Ukraine, by volunteering to help with the humanitarian efforts through the London Ukrainian Centre.

His family lives in the City of Dnipro, which has been attacked.

Both say their school has offered students impacted by the war counselling. Though they add but it’s easier to talk about what’s happening with fellow Ukrainians. The two also worry about how they will pay for their tuition next year with their families displaced by the war.

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Support Ukraine event at Polish Combatants Association Hall. March 27, 2022. Sawyer Bogdan / Global News
People selling t-shirts at the Support Ukraine event at Polish Combatants Association Hall. March 27, 2022. Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

The afternoon featured food, cultural displays, and performances by a Ukrainian Children’s dance group as well as a London Ukrainian singer.

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There was also a moment of silence for the people who have died since Russia invaded.

All of the funds raised from the day are being donated to the Red Cross to help with their on the ground support for the people still in Ukraine and others that are fleeing.

The Korean Society of London and the London branch of the Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC) both donated $1000 to show their support to the Ukrainian Community.

Carmel Tse with the London branch of the CCNC said in addition to their group’s donations they are also encouraging members of their community to make private donations to the red cross and the London Ukrainian Centre.

“(Your fight is) inspirational for a lot of democratic movements…across the world… So our community will stand with you,” Tse said.

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