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Ukrainian family preparing move to North Bay

'We met (so far only on the Internet) with wonderful sympathetic people from North Bay'
2022 05 04 Ukraine family 2
The Bieliaiev family from war-ravaged Mariupol, Ukraine. Photo supplied.

A group of local organizers is trying to get things prepared for a family of five from Ukraine to make North Bay their new home. 

The Bieliaiev family is looking for a host family in North Bay. Their former home in Mariupol, Ukraine has been destroyed and the family is currently in Denmark waiting for Emergency Visa paperwork through Canada's Northern and Rural Immigration Pilot Program to make the next step and fly to Canada.  

Andrii Bieliaiev, the father and a practicing lawyer in Ukraine, got connected with local residents Tina Karvinen and Lori Burns through the internet.

Those two are trying to help the Bieliaiev family to find a new home. 

"We met (so far only on the Internet) with wonderful sympathetic people from North Bay," Andrii told BayToday who will be bringing his wife Marina and his two daughters and one teenage son. 

"North Bay is safer than big cities and the costs are much less than in big cities, and because in North Bay we and our children will be closer to nature."

Tina Karvinen says they may have a temporary spot at her cottage but she believes it's not ideal for the family due to the transportation limitations outside the city. 

Karvinen and Burns have been reaching out to the community in preparation for the eventual move to Ukraine. 

"I feel very committed to them," said Karvinen. 

"I'll do what I can to help get them here and their stepping stone to living here and starting their new lives." 

Karvinen says she does not have a specific timeline as to when they will be able to come to Canada. But she is optimistic they will arrive in North Bay within the next four weeks. The family which will have its family pets will be coming to North Bay with very little.  

"They are going to come with just their suitcases so they don't have much for clothing," said Karvinen.  

"The kids won't be bringing toys so they just won't have anything."  

Karvinen says they will be looking for donations and plan to start a GoFundMe for the family. They are also working on a specific need list for the family. As for work, the mother has experience as a seamstress while the father has some experience as a carpenter as he realizes becoming a certified lawyer in Canada could take some time. 

Karvinen hopes the kindness the family receives will help them cope with the tragedy they experienced in Ukraine. 

"They don't want to go home, and have nothing to go back to," said Karvinen.  

"All their family homes have been completely destroyed. They feel they have nothing to return to so this is not a temporary shelter and we hope we can get them on the path to permanent residency."

For more information on how to help contact Tina Karvinen at [email protected]


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Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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