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Refugees adjust to their new environment



Bismarck, North Dakota – Since they don’t understand English, refugees new to the state may find it challenging to use services that most of us take for granted, like transportation or ordering fast food at a drive-through. To help them with their language skills, a group of refugees received a tour of the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Library today.

For many immigrants, turning a new page not only refers to literature but also to a new chapter in their lives.

“They are here because they are saving a life, kids life, their children alive and home alive,” said Nataliia Ostapchuk case worker specialist.

A group of refugees received a thorough tour of the library’s offerings. The section on books on English as a second language was a favorite stop.

“We are looking for ways that we can really help integrate people into the community and access some of the wonderful resources that we have,” said Holly Triska-Dally state refugee coordinator.

Nataliia, the translator, arrived in the country ten years ago as a Ukrainian refugee. She has since worked as a translator and a mentor for other refugees.

“I’m very proud to help my Ukrainians now,” said Ostapchuk.

Triska-Dally claims that the neighborhood has so far been very receptive to the refugees. The sponsors of the Ukrainian refugees aid them in navigating the area and establishing connections with the locals.

“Making sure that they are building the type of bridges and bonds they need to succeed here,” said Triska-Dally.

Over 100 Ukrainian migrants have already been established in the state, more than half of whom are in the Bismarck-Mandan region.

The group had the opportunity to register for their own library cards at the end of the trip.