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UNB welcomes two Ukrainian women to the procurement services office team

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Mar 31, 2023

Category: UNB Fredericton , UNB Saint John

Facing language and cultural barriers, Galina Kyrychuk and Oksana Plyta, stepped foot on Canadian soil with their families for the first time last fall, seeking refuge from the ongoing war in Ukraine.

With support from the non-profit organization Boaz Global, the two Ukrainian women found a host family in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where they currently live with their children.

When they arrived, the women knew beginning a new life in an unfamiliar country would be challenging and made finding jobs to support their families a top priority.

To help with their search for employment, their host, Barb Porter, connected them with her long-time friend Megan Hasson, manager of the procurement services office at the University of New Brunswick (UNB).

“Barb expressed to me that these ladies were anxious to get into the workforce and that their resumes were extremely impressive and asked if I could help,” said Hasson. “Luckily, at the time, we really needed help.”

After looking into ways to support the women, Hasson and her colleague, Julie Hynes, procurement assistant manager, secured them jobs at UNB with the help of Government funding through WorkingNB called Working Connections. The funding reimburses employers up to 40 hours per week for 26 weeks.

Both women now work in the procurement services office, where they support Hasson and Hynes with financial reporting, taxes, managing cardholders and checking for errors. The jobs fit well with their work experience in Ukraine.

“In my home city of Kyiv, I worked in banks for over ten years, and I have a master degree in audit and accounting,” said Kyrychuk. “When I arrived, I really wanted to use the skills I have to contribute to society and support my family while I learn more about Canadian culture.”

“Before leaving Lviv, I was an accountant and worked for a small specialty school,” added Plyta. “I’m so grateful to now live in a safe place where our children can continue their education, and we can work. We also have connected with other Ukrainian families in the city, which helps us continue some of our cultural practices.”

The women said working at UNB and their Canadian experience have been welcoming, supportive and hospitable.

“Any time we need help, everyone has stepped up to help us figure things out and what our next step is,” said Kyrychuk. “No one ever says no to us. They always find a way to make things happen.”

“We are so incredibly thankful for the opportunities UNB has provided us with,” added Plyta. “Taking us on, knowing there will be a language barrier, is admirable, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the support we’ve been provided when we needed it the most.”

To support future and current Ukrainian families in New Brunswick, Boaz Global is selling “Be brave like Ukraine” pencils for five dollars. Anyone interested in purchasing pencils can reach out to Julie Hynes at julie.hynes@unb.ca.

Contact WorkingNB to learn how to provide employment opportunities to Ukrainian women in the region.