The terrible war in Ukraine has led to a grave humanitarian crisis with millions of people in dire need, including many who have fled across borders. In the first weeks of the war, the Congregational Leadership Team launched an appeal to be able to provide support and immediate relief to the people of Ukraine affected by the war.
The massive response to this successful appeal meant we received €135,000 in donations from our GSIF partners and from the Congregation’s Units and Fund for Emergency Relief. Thanks to the shared love and concern of all those who contributed, GSIF worked in solidarity with the suffering people of Ukraine by partnering with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and the Salesian Sisters. These two organizations have been providing emergency relief projects at the frontline of the humanitarian response since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
JRS has been coordinating a single, unified response to the crisis. The organization has a longstanding presence in Ukraine, providing shelter, emergency humanitarian assistance and safe transportation out of the country to those who have been displaced. It continues to accompany and support Ukrainian women and children to flee to neighboring countries such as Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia, by offering them accommodation, essential items, legal assistance, psychosocial support and education. To learn more about how JRS supports Ukrainian families forced to flee their homes, watch the video of three women displaced by violence in Ukraine who have been welcomed by the JSR shelter in Poland.
GSIF has also partnered with Salesian Sisters and VIDES Poland, who support refugees to meet their basic and immediate needs as they arrive from Ukraine to Poland’s towns and cities of Warsaw, Kraków, Lomianki, Rumia and Suwalki. The organization currently offers Polish language lessons to about 50 refugees to facilitate their integration into society and further supports five recently-settled families to cover the cost of their rent and enable them to focus on starting their new life in Poland. Through the funds received, VIDES Poland also runs Recreation Therapy Camps for Ukrainian children to provide them with a joyful, nurturing and safe environment in which to play and learn. You can visit VIDES Poland‘s Facebook Page to learn more about the Salesian Sisters’ initiatives in Poland.