SLOVAKIA: Ukrainian refugees receive support
Salesians in Slovakia also offering training courses for volunteers working with Ukrainian children
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Slovakia have been providing educational, social and medical support for Ukrainian refugees since the start of the war. Salesians have provided shelter for 45 youth from the orphanage in Lviv. Younger children, ages 6-11, have been housed directly with families, while the older children and youth, age 11-17, have been staying at Salesian centers. Some of these children have returned to Ukraine while 12 of the youth remain in Slovakia to continue their studies. They will attend school in Bratislava, Žilina and Hody.
To alleviate their stress and worries, children and youth have participated in numerous recreational activities, including sports, cultural trips, and educational visits. With the help of donors, they were also able to travel abroad, visiting Italy, Malta and Switzerland.
Salesians in Slovakia have been offering training courses for volunteers working with Ukrainian children, helping them to understand how to deal with issues such as post-traumatic stress, crisis intervention, psychological support and more.
In Bratislava, Salesians offer Slovak language courses for women and children along with toy libraries and playrooms for children. The goal is to make children feel safe and integrated into their new communities.
“Refugees need more support than just having a place to stay and their basic needs met,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “To truly be integrated and comfortable in their new home, refugees need to become part of the social fabric. Meeting those in the community and learning to speak the language are a few steps in easing the transition.”
To support the efforts in Ukraine*, Salesians have sent 12 trucks with food, medical supplies and personal hygiene products since the beginning of the war. Once the materials arrive in Ukraine, they are collected in a warehouse and then distributed to accessible places. Delivering the goods is not easy. The vans have been subjected to long and constant journeys, necessitating several vehicle repairs. In addition, one of the vehicles was damaged due to being hit by gunfire. Despite everything, the aid does not stop.
Salesians continue to collect humanitarian aid and have organized logistical links among Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. A large warehouse has been rented in the city of Prešov, Slovakia, which is used to store all the material before it’s sent to Ukraine.
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*Any goods, services, or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.