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Serhiy’s Story: We are all equal, and God loves all of us

Credit: Serhiy Rasskazov

My name is Serhiy, and I am Ukrainian citizen. I recently came to Canada under the CAUET program. In this message I’d like to share my story with you. Firstly, sorry for my English. Sometimes I make a lot of mistakes because English isn’t my first language. Anyway, let’s start.

After my application was approved by the federal government, I immediately started wondering where I would live once I arrived in Canada. I searched the Internet to learn about different cities and regions of Canada and where I might be able to find housing.

On the Internet I bumped into the Help Ukraine Vancouver Island (HUVI) volunteer organization. I made up my mind to contact them to find out more about the possibility of going to Vancouver Island and ask the many other questions that a newcomer needs to ask when arriving in a new country.

Karmen McNamara of HUVI replied. She is a very positive and polite woman. She informed me that they provide support searching for host families for Ukrainians. I expressed my interest and after several days Karmen contacted me again saying they had found an option for me. She told me that a local gay couple kindly agreed to host me and asked if that was ok with me. Unfortunately, Ukraine is notoriously known for its unfriendly attitude towards LGBTQ people.

Here I want to declare something to everyone: we are all equal, and we are all created by God. In this case God loves all of us regardless your sexual orientation. After personal conversations with my hosts-to-be, I definitely understood they (Duane and Murray) were totally positive people.

 I landed at Vancouver International Airport on 28 May 2022. After my arrival, I was met by Dhira and his girlfriend who assisted me in getting to the ferry terminal for my journey from Vancouver to Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia and my destination. Hunter, a volunteer from HUVI, picked me up at the ferry terminal and drove me to Duane and Murray’s place. Hunter continues helping me in many ways including completing forms, looking for work, etc.

Serhiy, Duane, and Murray July 2022

In conclusion, I have to admit I was lucky to meet my hosts who are really amazing people. They provide me all the necessary support in all the complicated situations that accompany each newcomer in such a distant country as Canada. I would like also to express my deep appreciation to Duane, Murray, Hunter, Karmen, Dhira, and all the people who did not leave me with all the difficulties that I faced and will face in future. Canadians are positive, polite, friendly and very kind-hearted people!

Sharing this story, I would like to direct this message to Canadians that might hesitate to host people from Ukraine. Doing this you definitely contribute to our mutual struggle to free Ukraine and therefore to encourage brave Ukrainians who are resisting in this terrible war.

Glory to Ukraine!

P.S. From Hunter:
I will also say, there is the other side of Serhiy’s story.  That is Serhiy himself.  From my observation, he has taken so much initiative himself.  He took advantage immediately of all the opportunities necessary to settle into life in Victoria: seeking employment, bank account, MSP, medical, SIN.  In six weeks since his arrival, he is well on his way to make his way in Canada.  He is well organized, confident, well spoken, and is not shy to make his point, but in a very polite way.  And he has assisted other CUAET Ukrainian visitors who are struggling to adapt to a sudden stressful change in their life.

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