On May 18 – 27, 2018
our CYM-ivka, Anna Zakharova, participated in a medical mission to the Military-Medical Clinical Centre of the Southern Region in Odesa. She participated in this trip as a member of the League of Ukrainian Canadian Women (LUCW), Guardian Angels Ukraine Project.
LUCW co-sponsored this mission which was organized by the Canada Ukraine Foundation. The goal of the mission was to provide facial and hands surgeries for wounded soldiers and veterans who defended sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in its response to Russia’s aggression.
The main role of the Guardian Angels Project in this mission was to understand and recognize the needs of the wounded patients to plan future medical humanitarian missions in Ukraine, as well as to provide emotional support to our injured defenders and veterans.
“It was incredible and so inspiring to see how grateful our defenders are for help from Ukrainian Canadians, especially knowing that some of the Canadian doctors and nurses were of Ukrainian descent. But the most important for them was to know that we really care over here across the ocean”, Anna describes her impressions from the trip. “It was not easy so see injured guys and even women from 24 to over 50 years old some of whom lack one or both eyes or limbs and to know that many of them have to literally survive when demobilized. This is amazing how much willpower they have and can always make you laugh,” Anna adds. She shared that it was especially heartwarming for her to meet other Crimeans among the medical stuff of the hospital.
As one of the Ukrainian surgeons, a military doctor from Crimea, Viktor Mazur, said this mission was not just a medical mission, but also a cultural one, which encouraged the staff of the hospital to speak Ukrainian. Therefore, LUCW members came to conclusion that it is very important to organize similar missions to southern, central and eastern Ukraine.
Anna is finishing her Masters degree in Social Work at the University of Calgary, and this trip was part of her practicum with the Calgary Military Family Resource Centre. She plans to dedicate her future practice to military and veteran family support, military to civil transition and psychosocial adaptation of veterans in Canada and Ukraine.