Supports still needed for Ukrainian newcomers

The province has announced an additional $900,000 to increase the Intensive Newcomer Support Grant, which aims to help schools provide supports for newcomers entering Manitoba’s education system this school year.

By Mike Albanese

Ukrainian refugees first arrived in Manitoba 168 days ago, and as welcoming as the province has been according to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – there are still supports needed to help Ukrainian youth settle into their new home.

The Ukrainian National Federation Winnipeg branch says 350 Ukrainian families use their food bank every week. Joanne Lewandowsky from the UCC says over 8,000 Ukrainians have come to Manitoba, and more than 1,000 of those children.

“Think of the children, taking their one and only teddy bear, their pajamas, and their one little bag, get on the train and say bye to their daddies, not knowing what’s happening,” explained Lewandowsky.

“We’ve got to get these children a variety of help, language skills, reading, writing – the support system is necessary.”

Some of that support came on Monday. Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko was at Collège Miles Macdonell Collegiate to announce a doubling of the Intensive Newcomer Support Grant, from 900,000 to 1.8 million, which will help schools provide supports for newcomers entering Manitoba’s education system this school year.

“We want all students to succeed, no matter where they live, their cultural background, or their own personal circumstance,” explained Ewasko.


“Since the beginning of August, RETSD has welcomed 512 newcomers into our schools – that’s equal to the total number last year,” added Sandra Herbst, superintendent and CEO of River East Transcona School Division says 246 of those newcomers are from Ukraine.

Ukrainian refugee Michael, who has trouble hearing – was fitted with hearing aides through services funded by this grant. Herbst says newcomer students, like Michael, are vital to their schools.

“You contribute to making this school the vibrant environment it is. You build connections, you share your piano and athletics passion. You provide us with a perspective on privilege, a perspective on democracy that is needed now more than ever,” said Herbst.

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