July 16th, 2024

Harrowing escape from Ukraine recounted at SACPA


By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on November 18, 2022.

Herald photo by Ry Clarke Alona Sinchuk talks at Thursday's SACPA session about her escape from Ukraine.

Emotions were high Thursday during the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs presentation hearing from Ukrainian refugee Alona Sinchuk.

Audiences were recounted with Sinchuk’s escape from Ukraine two weeks after the Russian invasion earlier this year. Fleeing with her two teenage boys, she would travel from Dnipro to Kyiv, from where they would escape to France and eventually make the trip to Lethbridge through the help of the Project Sunflower Aid Society.

Coming to Lethbridge on June 22, Sinchuk spoke about how she needed to protect her boys.

“It is not about me, it is about them, because I need to save them. They need to have a future,” said Sinchuk. “They are doing really good now, better than me. But I am good. They have good marks in school. They speak English too, because they go and have friends in school. I really appreciate you all here, such good people.”

Coming to Canada under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) Sinchuk says she must rebuild her life now.

“I have my friends, I have my parents, and they stay in Ukraine. It is hard because I built my life, I have my life in Ukraine. But now I am trying to build a new life under my last life,” said Sinchuk. “I started the process in March. I decided on Canada because for me, it is about stability. Canada has rules, you do step one and step two and step three, and you will have something that you want. It is stability that I want for my kids.”

Thankful for projects like the Sunflower Aid Society and the Rotary Club, Sinchuk says she is grateful for the aid they have given her, like Downtown Rotary’s Lynne McGuire. “When I don’t know what to do, I can call Lynn and she will give me advice, help me feel right,” said Sinchuk. “I really appreciate Project Sunflower for the support, they stay with me and help me never feel alone. From the first days that I came here to Canada, I have never felt alone.”

Speaking to audiences about her harrowing journey, Sinchuk says Ukrainians are always fighting to protect their land and will continue for freedom.

“You know this story from your grandma and your grandfather, you know this story from the history. Because Ukrainian people are always fighting, they are always fighting for their freedom. We want independence,” said Sinchuk. “Prove to Russia it is our history. We did this before and we do this now and we will do it in the future if we need to do it, because it is in our blood.”

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