Cast It Forward!

2022 Cast it Forward Recipient

Liliia Bezverkha

Nominated by: Pam Iwanchysko

Liliia, Myroslav and Sophiia Bezverkha

I would like to nominate a recent newcomer to Dauphin from Ukraine, Liliia Bezverkha, to the Kississing Lake Lodge fishing adventure trip opportunity. She is a single mother who came to Canada to flee the war in Ukraine with her two children Myroslav - age 5 and daughter Sophiia - aged 12. She had limited English skills and took a chance for the safety of her children. She left behind her husband and mother and in-laws who were not able to come with her. She is one of the bravest, most courageous individuals I have ever met. She had no connections here in Canada but was only concerned about her children and took a huge leap of faith to fly halfway across the world.

At the beginning of the war, she and her family lived in Boyarka, Ukraine, a suburb of Kiev. This small town is close to Irpin where many war crimes took place. Irpin was mentioned in the media after it was liberated by Ukrainian troops. It could have been their town in the same state which bears scars of how cruel the ongoing war actually is. She and her family took refuge in dark hallways and earthen floor basements during this time. She then fled and spent two months in a recreation facility in Poland with 250 other fleeing Ukrainian citizens, with all their pets, sleeping on cots, before making the difficult choice to come to Canada. During this time she spent many hours continuing to work on her phone, virtually, at her job at the time, as a lawyer for her city council. Many of her “working hours” were in the middle of the night while her children slept.

We were connected through a volunteer at the Winnipeg airport and she came to live with my family for approximately one month before we could find her a suitable home that she could afford along with full time employment. Her children were very affected by all they had been through.

She is an extremely smart and intellectual individual who actually has a Master’s degree in law, but it is not recognized here in Canada. She has secured a job with an assisted living facility here in Dauphin as a means of making a living here. She is determined to learn English, attain her permanent residency status and give her children a better life than living with the threat of war over their shoulders throughout their lives. She recently celebrated her birthday there, in which the residents actually put on a surprise birthday party for her to show their appreciation for her hard work ethic at the facility.

Her character and drive is exemplary. Her bravery and selflessness is something that should be recognized. She never complains and is so grateful for the smallest gifts of food, clothing and household supplies. She works tirelessly for the sake of her children. No task seems too big for her to take on. While staying with us she shared the responsibilities of household chores, including gardening, cooking and cleaning, feeding our animals on our farm and even assisted with butchering our chickens, which she had never done before.

She works a full time job now, working a full eight hour shift, then attending English classes in the evenings, four days a week, until 9:00 p.m. at night, without a break in-between, not even a meal. She takes on extra shifts when available for the additional income. She strives to provide for her children and looks for no pity from anyone. She has no driver's license and has walked or biked to work from day one. Prior to finding her current home only five blocks away, she did this for nineteen blocks right across the City of Dauphin come rain or shine!

She is a very hard working woman with drive and compassion. Words can not explain to anyone how motivational a woman like her is. It is my absolute honor to nominate her for this trip as it would be a well-deserved break for her and her family to have, and to finally enjoy her new found freedom here in Canada.