U of R helping displaced Ukrainians get settled in their new home

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: July 20, 2022 10:00 a.m.

 Slava Luchynska and her son Maksym.
Slava Luchynska and her son Maksym. Photo: University Advancement and Communications

February 24, 2022 was the day everything changed for Slava Luchynska and millions of other Ukrainians.

Early in the morning in Ivano-Frankivsk, a Western Ukrainian city similar in size to Regina, Slava and her eight-year-old son Maksym awoke to the sound of their city’s airport being bombed and learned that Russia had launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

At a loss for what to do next, Slava made the difficult decision to pack what she could and leave to Warsaw, Poland in order to protect her son, unsure of whether they would ever be able to return home.

After four months of working remotely and living in a hotel, Slava decided to look for a more permanent and safer life in Canada, so she and her son boarded the plane that brought 230 displaced Ukrainians from Warsaw to Regina on July 4, 2022.

These individuals and families from Ukraine are staying at the University of Regina while they work towards securing permanent accommodations.

“I had not heard of Regina before, but I searched on the internet and saw many posts from volunteers in Regina and that made me feel very supported, so because of this I decided to come to Regina,” said Luchynska. “Ever since we landed in Regina, we have felt safe and supported. Many people met us and helped us, so it was really amazing.”

“Regina is not a very big city, but people who live here have very big hearts.”

Luchynska hopes to one day return to Ukraine after the war to visit her friends and family who stayed behind, but says the threat of future wars means she can no longer feel safe living in Ukraine.

For now, Luchynska is searching for a place to live in Regina and getting ready for Maksym to start school in the fall.

A new home and a new career

Even though Anna Lomachynska has lived in multiple cities and countries throughout her life, this did not make it any easier for Lomachynska and her husband to leave their newly purchased home in Ukraine the day after the war began.

“We didn’t want to leave our home, but we decided that we had to leave because we were scared for our lives,” said Lomachynska.

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Anna Lomachynska works for the U of R’s Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. Photo: UAC.

“We collected just a few things and we were on our way to Poland. In the three days it took us to get to Poland, I think I slept for about three or four hours.”

Lomachynska and her husband stayed in Warsaw for one night for some much needed rest before travelling to Germany, where they stayed in a refugee camp while waiting to see whether or not Canada would open their borders to accept Ukrainian refugees.

In March, Canada accelerated the immigration process for Ukrainians fleeing the war and even offered free flights to Canada, which Lomachynska and her husband took advantage of.

Although there were many aspects of Regina that made the city an attractive destination – like its size, abundance of parks, and low cost of living – it was a job opportunity at the U of R that confirmed Regina as the perfect landing spot for Lomachynska.

Lomachynska’s recent experience with coming to Canada – and the fact that she can speak four languages – helps Lomachynska in her new role as Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) Program Administrator within the U of R’s English as a Second Language Department.

“Finding this job wasn’t simple because I know many positions don’t always show up online, so it was kind of like a miracle, but I’ve been here for a month and a half and I love my job and I love my colleagues.”

“I’m so thankful for the Government of Canada’s help and for the University of Regina accepting me,” said Lomachynska. “I hope for a better future for Ukraine, but I’m so thankful I’m here. I hope I can be a good citizen and help other people here.”

The University of Regina has created a fund, Project Resilience, to support students affected by war, or other forms of political violence, in their home countries so they may continue their studies at the University of Regina.

Project Resilience will establish scholarships, provide emergency funds, and deliver other supports for these students and their families.

If you would like to make a donation to Project Resilience, visit https://giving.uregina.ca/.