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UKRAINE: Salesians support displaced youth and families who seek shelter, education

Salesians around the globe have been helping with the crisis

(MissionNewswire) Even though war is raging in Ukraine, Salesian missionaries have remained in the country in their parishes and schools, providing for people who have stayed. Many are displaced and are seeking shelter and safety in Salesian houses, schools and centers. Salesians are also working to continue education for young students who are both in the country and those who have left for bordering countries.

The Salesian high school in Lviv is providing remote education for 400 students while the vocational school is teaching 150 students. With all lessons online, close to 80 percent of the student body are taking part, some of whom are in the countryside and some abroad. Since mid-March in Zhytomyr, Salesians have been holding regular online classes with 90 percent of students, close to 200 youth, taking part.

In Odessa, 100 students are taking online courses. Salesians there had wanted to start a kindergarten before the invasions but without the staff to do so have tabled those efforts for now. Instead, they have converted space to store some of the humanitarian aid that Salesians around the globe have been providing.

“We are helping many people who have been displaced inside the country,” said Father Chaban Mykahylo, superior of the Mary Help of Christians Vice-Province of Ukraine of the Greek Catholic Rite. “We are bringing food and medicine to the most affected areas such as Kharkiv, Dnipro, the Lugansk region and Donetsk. We have planned with the Salesians in Slovakia to get a truckload of food every week. We also have a depot where we can store up to five trucks of material.”

Fr. Mykahylo added, “We are discovering more and more new places that need food. Right now, we are also sending bread to Kharkiv every week with the support of Don Bosco Bonn, and we will certainly increase the quantity as soon as we start our new bakery.”

Don Bosco Mission in Turin, Italy, has also sent generators to Salesians in Ukraine. Salesians are also in the process of building a shelter, which had been planned before the Russian invasion. The goal is to finish that project in April.

“We’re also providing sports programming for youth,” Fr. Mykahylo noted. “The goal is to help youth handle the stress of war with some physical activity. We already have seven new boys in our community home. They are coming from our region and from the war zone. We have another group of mothers with children as refugees in Italy, 43 people in all. I want to thank Salesians around the globe for all the work they have been doing in helping us with this crisis.”



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