Ukrainian Family of Four Arrives in Nelson

Tina Coletti

A Ukrainian family of four is learning about life in Nelson.

They are with a host family for the next four months before striking out on their own in a new country after fleeing their war-torn home land.

Tina Coletti helped coordinate their arrival, which came much faster than expected.

The Treasurer for the group Ukrainian Refugees to Nelson said she received a call last Monday explaining the family couldn’t go to their original destination, so they moved quickly.

“So we went into action and secured hotel space for them, for Wed. night and a flight to get to Cranbrook Thurs. and now they’re safely in Nelson.

She called it an emotional experiences for her and the new Nelsonites.

“To provide them with a safe country and to have safe access to services and let their two twin seven-year-old boys experience real life again, which we all take for granted was beyond my wildest dreams,” she said, adding the experience was described as surreal by the grateful family.

“The family has said it’s like a movie, like a dream, they can’t believe it,” Tina explained.

The next step is raising money to assist the family through the transition period from guests to self sufficiency.

Coletti said the group has raised $13,000 toward their $30,000 goal to support two Ukrainian families destined for the Queen City.

“So they can work on their language (skills) and life skills within Canada, the Canadian culture and help them with any health care needs they may need that are not supported by RBCMSP services and general living costs,” said Tina, who pointed out they aren’t eligible for many of the areas covered in the conventional immigration program.

“The normal refugee program that the federal government sets up provides additional services and help which this program for the Ukraine Refugee Emergency Relief does not include,” she added.

The eventual goal is to help the family find secure housing and jobs.  Coletti said they are working with Housing BC and hope a local landlord will have a home available in Sept.

Whether it’s housing or financial support, Tina is confident the community will come through for its newest residents.

“We all watched or seen or heard the horrible trauma’s that are occurring (in Ukraine) and I’m so grateful that our universal community is supporting Ukraine and that we are trying to make a small difference to two families to give them safety and security.”

Donation information can be found at the link below.

www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/highlands-baptist-church/campaign/ukrainian-refugee-nelson/