By Iryna Paltseva

Today, the whole world trembles with horror hearing the word Mariupol.

What happened to this unfortunate city, where Putin chose to demonstrate his ruthlessness, is already being compared to the devastation inflicted on places like Aleppo and Sarajevo.

But behind the chilling pictures from the world’s media, there are real people. One of the cottages in Jackson’s Point has now become home to a lovely refugee family from Mariupol, Ukraine.

Surprisingly, this family has not forgotten how to smile. After all, they had to go through a real hell.

Karina and her two children (8-year-old Danil and 3-year-old Dasha) spent a terrible 20 days during the occupation in Mariupol.

They miraculously survived when a missile hit their apartment building. They were forced to take shelter in a nearby pet store, where they cooked food on a fire, and had to get drinking water literally under a hail of bullets.

Her husband Alexi, who had left for Canada in the Fall to work, almost went crazy. Due to the complete lack of communication, he didn’t know what happened to his family for more than three weeks.

Fortunately, Karina managed to keep her children alive, and got to Poland. They had nothing, just the clothes they were wearing. Due to the lack of documents, Karina waited in Warsaw for four months to receive a visa. The reunion of the family took place on July 24 on Canadian soil. The day they hugged each other again is now considered the happiest day in their lives.

The Jackson Point community has come together to help this Ukrainian family. Alexi’s boss gave them his cottage to live in, and caring neighbours collected all the things necessary for life, from clothes and shoes to dishes, bedding, and toys.

There are still many challenges ahead – learning English, attending school, incorporating into society, and finding their own home and car.

But Karina and Alexei are sure of one thing: “We definitely can do all this! As long as we are surrounded by Canadians – the kindest nation on the planet”.

Note: The Georgina Post is hosting a fundraising dinner for Ukrainian refugees at the Sutton Legion on Sunday, August 28, from 3 to 7 pm.

For details and to buy tickets, visit The Post has also set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for $1,000 in repairs needed to safety a van for the family, donated by a kind neighbour.



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