UKRAINE: Salesian missionaries in Ukraine and bordering countries support 2,000 youth
Salesians provide education, socialization and ongoing support
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Ukraine and bordering countries are supporting youth in their schools, centers and oratories. About 2,000 Ukrainian youth have received support from the Salesians in Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia. This does not account for youth who have fled to other countries in Europe. During this emergency, Salesians are focused on trying to help youth live as normal a life as possible through education, socialization and ongoing support.
“First, our schools serve children during their normal hours of work,” explained Father George Menamparampil, head of the Salesian General Coordination for Emergency Response. “Furthermore, our oratories are open for children every day and for daytime activities. The minors who currently reside in Salesian homes receive lodging, food, and all the help they need 24 hours a day, including education, recreation, and the care that every child or young person needs.”
Salesian centers in Ukraine have all remained open. In an interview for Avvenire, the Catholic daily newspaper, Father Daniel Antúnez, president of Don Bosco Mission in Turin, Italy, who visited Salesian centers in Ukraine and Poland, said, “We asked ourselves what we could do and decided to make ourselves available to the people, those who were living there and those who have been displaced.”
Even while cities in Ukraine have been devastated by bombings and attacks, 680 youth — equal to 80 percent of students prior to the invasion — continue to attend classes at Salesian educational centers through distance learning. Oratories are providing support to 208 youth, and 70 children and older youth are taking shelter in Salesian centers and houses.
In Poland, 398 Ukrainian youth are in Salesian schools, 309 are in oratories, and 210 are in Salesian homes. In Slovakia, there are 60 Ukrainian children in oratories and 50 have been welcomed into Salesian homes.
While there is no official account of youth in Salesian programs in Moldova, it has been reported that the Salesian house in Chișinău is currently hosting close to 40 refugees, and since the beginning of the war, the Salesian center has offered care to more than 1,000 people.
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