I find it hard to focus on storytelling with war being waged on Ukraine and its people.
Canada has the largest Ukrainian population outside of Ukraine, so it’s not surprising that we’re feeling this collectively on a deep level. My maternal grandfather’s family came from Odessa. Barry’s grandparents immigrated from Ukraine and settled on a farm in Manitoba. Their experience fleeing Ukraine and the subsequent Canadian internment of Ukrainians as ‘enemy aliens’ during and after World War 1 led me to write Lesia’s Dream. I wrote it, in part, so my children would understand their ancestors’ struggles and bravery. But I also wrote it because it occurred to me then, as it does now, that we often turn our cultural icons into heroes, yet it’s the individual acts of heroism, often unseen or unrecognized, that truly count.
And once again, the Ukrainian people are demonstrating true heroism, only this time the world is watching.
The war in Ukraine is not the only conflict or hot spot in the world – I know that – but it’s the conflict that’s on my mind right now. It’s the one that has our family asking, ‘what can we do?’ If you’re asking yourself the same question, here are some organizations that could use your support.
The Canada Ukraine Foundation:
The Ukrainian Red Cross:
Doctors Without Borders:
Save the Children:
World Central Kitchen:
Help Us Help: