SLOVAKIA: Salesians continue efforts for young refugees from Ukraine
Close to 8 million Ukrainian citizens are living as refugees in other countries
(MissionNewswire) Eleven months into the war in Ukraine*, Salesian missionaries who remain in the country and in surrounding countries like Poland and Slovakia are still hard at work caring for those who have been impacted and displaced. Close to 8 million Ukrainian citizens, mostly women, the elderly and children, are living as refugees in other countries.
Salesian missionaries in Slovakia have been at the side of people in need since the first hours of the conflict, taking in orphans from Lviv and opening the doors to their centers to provide shelter for as many people as possible. Despite all the difficulties that a sustained effort entails, Salesians continue to care for them today.
Salesians have been providing basic needs like food, shelter and medical care. They are also ensuring education for youth and language courses for adults, so that they can become as self-sufficient as possible and find work to support themselves.
The psychological needs of refugees have not been overlooked. For youth, Salesians have tried to offer times of joy and peace and a sense of normalcy. For 47 orphans rescued from Lviv who were scattered among various homes, Salesians gathered them all during Christmas break to take them on a ski vacation and to enjoy time together.
During winter and the Christmas season, many Salesians and volunteers who normally facilitate activities at Salesian oratories decided to spend the holiday focused on supporting and celebrating with Ukrainian families.
One Salesian said, “In some centers for the little ones, St. Nicholas also came by to bring some gifts, while festive dinners and refreshments were offered to all, sharing the different traditions and customs, both in cooking and in the festivities.”
In addition, Salesians and volunteers continue afternoon activities at several state facilities that are housing hundreds of young Ukrainian refugees. They conduct dance, music, language and creative classes. The Salesian added, “In addition to continuing these activities, our goal for this new year is to include liturgy in the Greek Catholic rite in our visits. We have set up a room to be able to offer them a moment of silence, to take care of the spiritual part.”
Salesians in Slovakia are also ensuring humanitarian aid is reaching people in Ukraine. During the consecration of Father Maksym Ryabukha, the new auxiliary bishop in Donetsk, Salesians in Slovakia, Father Peter Jacko and Father Andrej Knaze, donated humanitarian aid to share with the people in his location. The aid included a van full of warm clothes, an electric generator and much more.
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UNHCR – Ukraine Refugee Stats
*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.