Four Ukrainian Niagara College students get solidarity scholarships


Published April 28, 2023 at 2:18 pm

Maryna Tsekhmeistruk was one of four Ukrainian students that received the $10,000 Ontario-Ukraine Solidarity Scholarships at Niagara College.

Four Niagara College international students in Canada from Ukraine have each been awarded $10,000 scholarships, allowing them to continue studying abroad.

The Ontario-Ukraine Solidarity Scholarships, created to support students who have been impacted by the conflict in Ukraine, were awarded for the first time this year and the four recipients – Maryna Tsekhmeistruk, Volodymyr Kovtun, Olena Kovtun and Sofiia Kutsenko – were notified of their good fortune in late March.

Tsekhmeistruk and the two Kovtun’s are enrolled in the English for Academic Preparation program while Kutsenko is an Acting for Film and Digital Media student.

After the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, which began Feb. 24, 2022, the province responded a month and a half later, announcing the creation of at 1.9 million Ontario-Ukraine Solidarity Scholarship to support students attending Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges and universities.

For the four recipients, the scholarship mean they can stay put, continuing their Canadian students.

Volodymyr Kovtun said the scholarship inspires him to keep working hard to achieve his goals. “This money has helped to make my transition to living in Canada much easier and has allowed me to focus on my education. I truly appreciate Niagara College’s kindness and compassion for Ukrainian refugees.”

Tsekhmeistruk said the Russia-Ukraine conflict was one of the reasons her parents insisted she leave her homeland to “start a new chapter in Canada.”

“My home country of Ukraine has been embroiled in conflict for several years, and my family has been deeply impacted by the war,” said Tsekhmeistruk. “My brother was called to military duty at the beginning of the invasion and the constant fear of losing a loved one is an unimaginable burden to bear.”

With her father recently passing away, leaving her younger sister and mother alone in Ukraine, Tsekhmeistruk was worried that she would need to move back home to help alleviate the financial strain on her family. However, the scholarship has allowed her to stay in Canada to finish her education.

Since the outbreak of war in the Ukraine, Niagara College has been committed to supporting its students who have been impacted (both directly and indirectly) by the conflict.

In 2022, the college expanded its Global Emergency Relief Fund to assist Ukrainian and Russian students by providing scholarships and bursaries to help cover tuition or living expenses.

The College also showed support for these students through messages of hope – an initiative that displayed handwritten messages of support from the College community at both the Niagara-on-the-Lake and Welland campuses.

The Niagara College Teaching Brewery also showed its support for Ukraine and Ukrainian students through the creation of two new brews – Resist: Ukrainian Anti Imperial Stout and a Ukrainian Golden Ale, created using a recipe developed from Pravda brewery in Lviv, Ukraine.

“Niagara College has become my new home, and I am grateful for the support and guidance of the staff and professors,” said Tsekhmeistruk. “Thank you for being here for me and for selecting me for this scholarship. I am truly blessed to have your support and love.”

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising