U of R hosts ‘one-stop shop’ for Ukrainians to start new life

The University of Regina has been transformed into a ‘one-stop shop’ for the Ukrainians who have arrived in Saskatchewan.

Those fleeing the war-torn country will be meeting with service providers and getting information on services like health cards, SIN numbers, driver’s licenses, housing, school, and employment opportunities.

One of those Ukrainians is Olga Machuga, who arrived on the humanitarian flight carrying 230 refugees.

Machuga, who is from Lviv, fled her home on February 24th.

“I was really scared and didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “I was really afraid to go back because from now and then there were explosions, bombing in Lviv. You never know, will that one bomb, will it bomb your home or the place that you are staying at that same minute.”

After spending 33 hours crossing the border to Poland, she has been staying with friends in Poland and Germany. When she learned she would be able to travel to Canada, she jumped at the opportunity to start a new life in a new country.

“I decided to make a Canadian Visa and go to Canada because I don’t know German or Polish, but I know English, so that is why I decided that I must leave my Ukrainian work and start work somewhere else and live and continue my life.”

In her limited time in Canada, she said it has felt more like home than the other countries.

“Canada feels more like home because I can speak English here,” she said. “At my workplace, all the people are always so kind and helpful and happy for you; all the time, people in Canada are the same. That’s why Canada feels like home because people are really nice to you; they are really honestly nice.”

She said that the people she’s met and dealt with had been nothing but great.

“All the people are really nice, and you feel like you are so special, and all the people are getting this kind of attitude from the beginning of when we stand on Canadian ground,” she added. “we feel like we are safe that’s really great, but not only safe but taken care of and we can breath out.”

Machuga plans to head to Winnipeg next to stay with a family friend. Looking further down the road, she said she would love to return to her home country one day.

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