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June 20 is World Refugee Day

Established by the United Nations in 2001 in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, World Refugee Day is a day to honour and celebrate the strength and fortitude of people forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution.

We sat down with Svitlana Bondarenko, the Ukrainian settlement counsellor at YWCA Hamilton and a refugee herself, in a conversation for World Refugee Day about her journey, celebrations and reflections.

Svitlana arrived in Canada last year with her family and two dogs after fleeing the war in Ukraine. “It was a struggle – we did not know where to go after landing in Canada,” she said. Her family did not have any support or community around them. “Finding permanent housing was a big struggle; we did not have any credit score or references that landlords usually require,” she explains.

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Connection Through Art – Memoir Writing Newcomer Storytelling Workshop

We are looking for Newcomer women and non-binary folks to come in and learn from Anne Bokma, an award-winning local journalist and author who is the founder of the city’s popular 6-Minute Memoir annual storytelling event on how to write a short memoir, or story, about their settlement journey to Canada and their life thus far.

Along with fellow student Danya Sanderson, Etri and Nam are co-chairs of the Mac Med volunteering group, a student-led initiative to volunteer with housing service providers in the Hamilton area and build connections in the community. As part of our celebration of National Volunteer Week, we sat down with Etri and Nam to hear about their experiences volunteering with YWCA Hamilton at Carole Anne’s Place (CAP).

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