Community and family help Ukrainian mother and son settle in Kingston, Ont.

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Community and family help Ukrainian mother and son settle in Kingston
Tanya Kriuchkova and her son Tima now have their own place. Tanya has found work and Tima is now enrolled in school with the support of the Kingston community – Oct 16, 2022

Tens of thousands of Ukrainians have been forced to flee their home country since the Russian invasion in February.

Those escaping the war have settled in dozens of countries around the world, including Canada.

“I will remember the morning of Feb. 24 all my life,” says Tanya Kriuchkova, a Ukrainian refugee who has settled in Kingston.

It’s a day that won’t soon be forgotten by many Ukrainians — the day Russian troops first invaded their home country.

Three weeks later, Kriuchkova made the tough decision to leave Kiev to protect her son. But it didn’t come without a cost.

“In Ukraine stay my family,” she says. “My father, brother, and husband.”

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It’s a decision difficult to comprehend for any 16-year-old.

“I was so confused because I never would have thought I would have to leave my country,” says Kriuchkova’s son, Tima.

Their departure involved a two-day train ride to Germany, where they stayed for several months while waiting for a visa. They eventually made their way to Napanee, Ont. in July to meet up with family.

Since then, they have received plenty of support from local organizations like the Ukrainian Canadian Club of Kingston, run by Lubomir and Nadia Luciuk. This has allowed Tanya and Tima to begin this new chapter in their lives in Kingston, Ont.

“[Nadia] found a good apartment for us,” says Tima. “She found a job for my mom and also she found a great school for me.”

The Mayor’s Fund was also started for Ukrainian refugees to provide financial assistance and help navigate the necessities of day-to-day life.

“What is a rental agreement, why do I need insurance to be a renter?” says Lubomir Luciuk, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Club of Kingston. “Why do I have to sign this document, what is this document? Where do I get a bus pass?”

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While Tanya and Tima are now settled in, not a day goes by in which they don’t think of their loved ones back home.

“Every day, every morning when I ring, how are you,” says Tanya. “It’s very important for me to hear a voice my family every day.”

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