Watch: The heart-warming effort to use the Welsh language to help Ukrainians settle in Wales
New leaflets as well as a video have been produced sharing some ‘vital’ Welsh words translated to Ukrainian.
Mentrau Iaith Cymru, who promote the Welsh language among communities, said that the aim was to help those who had settled in Wales from Ukraine.
It comes after a support teacher in Ceredigion also uploaded a video of some key Welsh phrases translated into Ukrainian, that you can watch above.
More than 6,500 Ukrainians have been welcomed to Wales after confirming their visa applications, with 3,600 of these with the Welsh Government as a super sponsor.
The Mentrau Iaith have produced a number of leaflets in the past introducing Welsh words concentrating on various popular themes for example Christmas, the four seasons and also traditional Welsh festivals like St Dwynwen’s Day.
But this is the first time to produce one in a third language, they said.
Heledd ap Gwynfor, Communications Coordinator with Mentrau Iaith Cymru said the leaflets would be an “introduction” to the Welsh language.
“The list of Welsh words translated into Ukrainian also includes the Ukrainian phonetics so as to help Ukrainians to pronounce the Welsh words,” she said.
“These leaflets have been very popular and have been shared a number of times on our social platforms. Hopefully, these will benefit a new community of people and to help make them feel a part of a new Welsh community whichever part of Wales they live.”
Tanya Davenport is originally from Ukraine, and lives in Carmarthen with her husband and their children.
“The welcome Ukrainians have had here in Wales is so appreciated, and I feel proud to be able to say that I belong to Welsh and Ukrainian, communities,” she said.
“Many Ukrainians come here traumatised having seen hate and sorrow, but these small gestures amount to a positive feeling.”
Tanya’s parents fled Poltava in east Ukraine and have since settled with the family in Carmarthen.
“They hear the [Welsh] language all around them, they see signs so they are curious – this leaflet showing how to say words in Welsh – including Ukrainian phonetic – is just wonderful and will make my parents feel even more part of this new and warm community.”
Llinos Davies is a Support Welsh teacher in Ceredigion and works with children from Ukraine as they settle here offering stability whilst introducing them to education.
“I teach children from all ages to be able to communicate linguistically,” she said.
“It is so important for them to gain some Welsh so that they can empathise and feel even more a part of their new community.
“I love hearing them speak in Welsh, and they also enjoy hearing me trying to speak some Ukrainian. It’s important to show that we are all learning and that we all have a desire to learn more about each other.”
Llinos has shared a video on You Tube showing her teaching Welsh at the same time as learning Ukrainian with English thrown in for good measure also. She believes that these leaflets will enrich Ukrainian experiences of being in Wales even more.
“Everything helps. It is only a small gesture to be able to say a word or two in their language, and these leaflets are a useful reference for them to try say some Welsh words.”
The leaflets can be seen on the Mentrau Iaith social media or by asking your local Menter Iaith for a hard copy – for more info on who your local Menter Iaith is go here.
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Da iawn! However, please ensure that “the Ukraine” is no longer in use. The country is Ukraine and, by using the definite article before the country’s name, you are giving in to Putin’s wish to see the country as a province of Russia. This has been well-publicised since 24 February, so there is really no excuse.
The majority of Ukrainians fled their country to escape the wholesale slaughter and devastation of their country by Russia. Most want to return there when hopefully the invasion is ended. In the meantime, it is to be praised that there are people across the UK that are willing to offer a welcoming home for them.
Indeed – and such an important point: that most Ukrainians here in Wales (or wherever) would want to return home to Ukraine eventually. However, that’s not going to be in the coming weeks, or even months – and in the meantime what we mean by “helping them settle in” is making them welcome, and at least “unpacking their suitcases”, mentally, socially, and linguistically, while they wait.
Here’s the “pennill” (verse) of welcome that appeared in our “Papur Bro” (community newspaper) this month:
“I’n Cyfeillion Newydd”
Hir fu’ch taith a mawr eich ofnau
Ond cewch yma groeso Cymru;
Boed ich orffwys ‘nawr o’r diwedd;
Boed ich gennym hafan hedd.
[Your journey was long, your fears great, but here you’ll have in Wales a welcome. May you now at last find rest, and have with us a shelter of peace.]
Mutual respect and empathy. We know and feel their pain of a larger state attempting the annexation their homeland. We as Welsh people can and will stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine & Ukrainians in solidarity.
Are you really comparing the situation in Ukraine to living in Wales. As playing the victim goes you really are up there with the best.
According to Pontypridd Senedd member Mick Antoniw, Putin has an active policy to “Culturally unUkrainianise Ukraine”. Cymru has experienced something similar as a result of the economic and education policies of many London governments. They are not war with us because to a certain extent they have already achieved their goal.