UKRAINE: Salesian missionaries respond to refugee crisis with shelter and support
Salesians remain in their centers and churches to help families.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (March 4, 2022) Salesian missionaries around the globe are answering the call to help support people in distress in Ukraine and refugees fleeing the conflict. Salesians living and working in Ukraine have remained in their centers and churches, and they are helping families with shelter and nutrition. Globally, Salesian organizations are working to raise critical funding to help these efforts and the needs of refugees in surrounding countries.
More than 1 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the conflict with Russia on Feb. 24, according to the UNHCR, the U.N. Refugee Agency. The majority of refugees have fled to Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Romania and Slovakia. Others continue to flee across Europe in search of shelter and safety.
Salesians for Social APS in Rome, a civil service organization, in agreement with government agencies, has begun coordination of the reception of Ukrainian refugees in Italy. Some will be housed at Salesian programs.
The fast exodus of Ukrainians is unprecedented in this century. By the count of the UNHCR, more than 2 percent of the population, 44 million citizens, have been on the move in less than a week. UNHCR estimates that up to 4 million people could leave Ukraine.
Pope Francis publicly praised Polish authorities and the country’s people. He said in an address, “You are the first ones who have supported Ukraine opening your borders, your hearts, the doors of your homes to the Ukrainians who are escaping the war. You are generously offering everything that is necessary so that they can live in a dignified way despite the dramatic moment. I am profoundly grateful, and I bless you from my heart!”
Currently, Syria has more than 5.6 million people who fled the country after the outbreak of civil war in 2011. It took at least three months for refugees to reach 1 million, according to UNHCR data. Shabia Mantoo, spokeswoman for the UNHCR, said that if the migration from Ukraine maintains this pace, it could become the “biggest refugee crisis of this century.”
To help support refugees Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, has already launched a Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund that will provide support to provide shelter, nutrition and supplies to refugees in need.
Salesian Missions is joined by other Salesians organization in fundraising efforts including Don Bosco Mondo in Germany, Salesians of Slovenia, Missão Don Bosco in Portugal, and the Salesian Province of Great Britain, among others. The Salesian Sicilian Province is already identifying the availability of beds to accommodate possible refugees.
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