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A Ukrainian family fleeing the war has found a new home in Rosthern, Sask.

Thanks to the generosity of the community, the Malezhyk family has a head start in their new community with a fully furnished home.

With Pavlo away working on a ship, Oksana and five of her children had just 15 minutes to pack a few bags and flee the fighting in southern Ukraine.

In the short time they’ve been in Rosthern, Pavlo says they’ve felt like celebrities.

“It’s a very welcome community here, we are feeling like (we’re) at home,” said Pavlo. “Every day someone is knocking on our door, saying hello, how are you and things like this. People bringing stuff and everything. The community is great, Rosthern is a great city.”

Malezhyk says it helps that there are lots of people who speak Ukrainian in Rosthern, even if it’s a slightly different dialect.

“Plenty (of) people, they know how to speak Ukrainian. So the language barrier is maybe not so existent, they will understand,” he said, adding that it’s a form of “Canadian-Ukrainian” among speakers in Rosthern.

The welcoming committee includes Linda Rudachyk and Sylvia Humenuik, who have raised money for their newest neighbours. From arranging furniture for the new house, driving the Malezhyks to appointments or showing the family around town, they’ve been amazed at the outpouring of support from their neighbours.

Through a garage sale fundraiser and donations from all over town, they’ve raised more than $30,000. Even the local kids have been generous.

“Little kids giving up their bikes so that these children can have bikes, and big kids giving up their bikes, it’s actually been a community miracle, especially in one week,” said Rudachyk.

The committee hopes to be able to welcome another Ukrainian family later this year.

In the meantime, Pavlo says the kids love riding their new bikes and are looking forward to summer.

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