UKRAINE: Ukrainian refugees find safe shelter at Salesian center in Czerwińsk, Poland
Work of Salesians in Ukraine and Poland is being supported by Salesian organizations around the globe
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Poland report that the flow of refugees between Ukraine and Poland has slowed down in recent days. Many who were able to escape from heavy conflict areas have done so, while those who remained did so by choice or for lack of alternatives. To date, more than 5.6 million people have fled Ukraine with more than 3 million of them going to Poland, according to the UNHCR, the U.N. Refugee Agency.
Salesian organizations in Poland and across Europe have opened their doors to those seeking shelter and humanitarian aid. Natalia, a nurse, fled with her three children from the Khmelnytskyi region in western Ukraine and is currently hosted at the Salesian house in Czerwińsk, Poland. She said, “Both my children and I are in good condition in Czerwińsk. We feel safe and everyone cares about us. The children are happy. They get an education and spend their free time playing.”
Natalia arrived at an advantage over many of her fellow countrymen because her mothers’ family has Polish roots. She had already been to several cities in Poland and knows the language well. Natalia has been using that to help others in need. “I spend my time helping my compatriots with the various communications, in the compilation of the necessary documents, and working for the gradual integration of the refugee population.”
Natalia, who knows she’s had an easier path than most, added, “Everyone, especially those with children, can leave Ukraine now that there is a war going on. There are many people who will give them shelter and decent accommodation. But I understand that some women may want to stay in Ukraine with their husbands. I think this is also a good decision. Whatever path they take, let it be according to their conscience.”
Despite the experience that the Salesians and volunteers are providing for her family, Natalia’s time in Poland is quite different from the other times she has visited. She explained, “Before I visited the Masuri Lake District and the many beautiful forests, with all the surrounding nature. Today, I always think of my homeland and my husband, a doctor, who has remained in the country to serve the needy. This is important now when so many wounded people need him so much.”
Natalia explained she has one dream today, “To be able to return home to Ukraine as soon as possible. And I hope it will be really soon. Ukraine is fighting for life and our freedom so that those who had to leave can come home and start a new life.”
The work of Salesians in Ukraine and Poland is being supported through financial and material support by Salesian organizations around the globe. Salesians are present in more than 130 countries and nearly all have stepped up to help in some way.
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ANS – Poland – Supporting refugees until they can achieve their dream: “To return home and start a new life”
UNHCR – Ukraine Refugees