A refugee fleeing the conflict from neighbouring Ukraine holds her baby as she sits in a tent at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, Romania, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. Romania, which shares around 600 kilometres (372 miles) of borders with Ukraine to the north, is seeing an influx of refugees from the country as many flee Russia’s attacks. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

A refugee fleeing the conflict from neighbouring Ukraine holds her baby as she sits in a tent at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, Romania, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. Romania, which shares around 600 kilometres (372 miles) of borders with Ukraine to the north, is seeing an influx of refugees from the country as many flee Russia’s attacks. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Locals supporting Ukranian refugees in region

Country’s around the world are scrambling to get Ukrainians fleeing the conflict at their home settled someplace safe.

For its part, the Canadian government has supported Ukrainians seeking to come to Canada by fast-tracking the visa process and upgrading visas to three-year working ones.

While no official groups have yet stepped up to help Ukrainians navigate the complexities of visa applications and government bureaucracy, according to Brownfield resident Curt Cole a number “Host Ukrainian” sites have popped up on social media.

Using one of these sites, Cole has offered his home to those fleeing the war-torn country, with the first arrivals coming over the Easter weekend.

“We decided we would make our home available,” said Cole.

“Many others are doing the same thing.”

The first family coming in to Brownfield is a family of two adults and three children. Another family is ready to come as well as soon as visas are approved.

Cole notes that a lot of the people coming are coming with what little they had time to pack before they fled.

“A lot of people had their bank accounts frozen,” said Cole.

“They are looking for a fresh place to start.”

Lynn Cole, Curt’s wife, sees the refugees coming to the rural towns as a good thing.

“Look at the revitalization of these towns if we bring these people in,” said Lynn Cole.

“Maybe this is a way to bring people in and give these towns a boost.”

According to the Coles, some employers in the region have already said that if the skill-sets fit they would be willing to employee some of the refugees.

While many of the refugees are coming from the cities in Ukraine, and wanting to go to cities in Canada, according to the Coles some are wanting to come to the country.

Helping the Ukrainian people flee their war-ravaged country is not the first time the Coles have helped others. Previously they have helped bring some Syrian family’s to the region as well.

“It’s not a short term commitment,” said Curt Cole.

“It’s people helping people.”

Anyone wishing to help out the Coles in helping the Ukrainian refugees are asked to get a hold of them

The Coles can be contacted at 403-575-5388.

With the expected language barrier of the refugees coming in, there are other ways to help as well.

Paintearth Adult Learning is seeking help from the community for English tutors.

Requirements to become an English tutor are a good grasp of the English language and a minimum one hour a week of time to commit to a learner in a one-on-one setting at a time that is suitable to both learner and tutor.

Cindy Heidecker, Paintearth Adult Learning Manager notes that aside from the expected tutors needed for the incoming Ukrainians, there are other learners in the region who need tutors as well, in both Castor and Coronation.

To become a tutor with Paintearth Adult Learning, contact Radka Bursikova at 403-578-3817 or 1-888-578-3817.

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