A woman from the South Shore of Montreal and her entourage voluntarily coordinated the arrival of 10 families of Ukrainian refugees, making sure to find them a place to stay, a means of transportation... and even a job for some.
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"It's a lot of work, but in life, I've always wanted to help," says Marie-Ève Jalbert, who works in daytime recruitment with the firm Randstad.
In her spare time, the 30-year-old is busy bridging the gap between new arrivals who fled the war and their new life in Quebec.
She recites the names of her protégés by heart: Julia is with Philippe and Myriam, Elena is with Valérie, Larisa and her children with Marc and Anna...
And the list continues.
Even four generations of a single Ukrainian family will soon arrive among big-hearted Quebecers living on the South Shore.
Ms. Jalbert had the idea to facilitate their arrival after attending a first rally in support of Ukraine in Montreal. It was there that she met Vira Serheyeva, who greets refugees at Montreal-Trudeau airport in their language, at the booth of an immigrant aid organization.
The young woman told her about refugees who did not know "nobody, nobody" in Quebec and who did not know where to turn after a stay in a hotel.
Determined to help, but not having the space at home to accommodate them, Ms. Jalbert began to identify families ready to welcome them, in her entourage and on social networks.
Then it all came crashing down.
Today, the retiree shares her Sainte-Julie home with Viktoria, Vadym, and their 14-year-old son, Daniil.
“Marie-Ève had made a first contact, which made our task easier. When we looked at the groups, there are new requests for accommodation every five minutes, ”she testifies.
Hair salon and factory
In addition to finding a place for the refugees to put down their suitcases, Ms. Jalbert also mobilizes her network to find them a job.
"Within a week of Viktoria and Vadym's arrival, I managed to find work for them," she enthuses.
Viktoria, a colorist in Ukraine, has been working in a hair salon for just over a week. And this, even if she does not yet speak French or English.
Vadym was hired as a day laborer in a factory.
Another refugee has a marketing interview, and Ms. Jalbert has sent out several resumes in the past few days.
Unity is strength
She has also organized clothing drives, tries to provide at least one bike per small family, and has created a list of useful organizations on the South Shore.
"It's an all-inclusive service. Marie-Ève is incredible”, confirms Vira Serheyeva, who referred several refugees to her who were in nothingness.
Marie-Ève Jalbert stresses, however, that nothing would be possible without the support of the community.
“When you start getting involved, you meet such wonderful people. It makes a beautiful chain of love, ”says the 36-year-old woman.