Kim Sigurdson is not unfamiliar with suffering, having seen it with his own people in remote parts of Canada. It’s one of the reasons the Métis philanthropist from Manitoba felt compelled to offer his support to the people of Ukraine.
“They came here with nothing and they’re struggling. Us indigenous people are struggling. We have very, very little,” Sigurdson told CTV National News.
Earlier this month, Sigurdson flew to Poland on his own dime and boarded a bus to visit Lviv, Kyiv and Irpin in Ukraine.
He worked with Yaroslav Yurtsaba from a large security organization, and they were in Lviv when the city was struck by Russian missiles.
“There was a major hit on Lviv. Kim was there exactly at that time. So, right now the only threat is ballistic missiles,” Yurtsaba told CTV National News.
The suffering Sigurdson saw in Ukraine, however, was unlike anything he’d seen before.
“There were some places where there were body parts and the smell of death lingered in the air,” he said.
Yurtsaba says that the supplies that are in shortage but also high in demand are hygienic items, sleeping bags and food. And seeing lengthy food lines, and limited shelter options, Sigurdson’s main priority has been to offer immediate supplies and financial aid he brought from Canada.
He worked to get some food, medicine and products to get to these people “who are out there having such a difficult time.”
“We’re raising some funds right now for food, medicine and first aid kits,” he said.
With plans to come back in July after his two-week stint in May, he aims to bring steel ship and railroad containers that can be turned into temporary housing.
“They need a place to go and they need it now,” Sigurdson said.