UKRAINE: Salesians support more than 100 projects for people impacted by war
Nearly 18 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian aid.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (March 6, 2023) February 24 marked one year since Russia invaded Ukraine* in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War. Since that time, 2,700 schools have been bombed and more than 5.5 million schoolchildren have seen their education disrupted by the war. More than 8 million people have fled the country as refugees, according to UNHCR – the United Nations Refugee Agency. Nearly 18 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian aid.
“When the shelling started, water, electricity and gas were also cut off. We could not wash and it was difficult to get food,” recalled Boris, who fled Mariupol. “My city no longer exists because it is burned and destroyed.”
Since the beginning, Salesian missionaries have been supporting people who remained in the country and those who fled to neighboring countries for protection. Salesians in Poland and Slovakia, among those in other countries, have welcomed refugees and provided shelter, food, medical support and education. Convoys of medical aid have also left Poland to help Salesians who are sheltering people in Ukraine.
Thanks to the aid received, some Salesian schools in Ukraine have been able to remain open and provide education in emergency situations by building shelters and providing support for water, electricity and gas supplies. There is also some psychological support for students, teachers, and families, while some school costs are being covered.
Sixty-six Salesian organizations from five continents have supported more than 100 projects. Projects include the construction of emergency shelters, support to refugees abroad and internally displaced persons, and educational programs and activities for children and youth. There is also a special emergency plan to cope with winter, as well as aid to affected communities with essential medicines, vehicles, field kitchens, food, clothes, tents, blankets and other specific forms of aid requested.
“We want to bring aid as close as possible to the border, where most of the villages have been destroyed, houses have been burned and people are living assembled in shelters. They need help,” said Father Józef Nuckowski, who led a convoy of aid collected through the generosity of the Salesian family from around the world. “It is thanks to our donors that we can get this aid this far.”
Fr. Nuckowski stressed the importance of the aid delivered as he arrived in Luch, not far from Kherson in southern Ukraine. “Really, everything has been destroyed. Every building has been hit, no one has been left untouched.”
People have been generous in their support and it has been life-saving for those who have been impacted. One of the 55 people remaining in Luch said, “We have experienced the full harshness of the war since its beginning. We just hope that all this will end well, that we can rebuild our village and live in peace.”
Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, has sent food and medical aid to help support people in need. A recent shipment reached more than 1,000 people. In addition to these efforts, soon after the war started, Salesian Missions launched a Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund that is helping to provide shelter, nutrition and supplies to refugees in need. This fund is among other fundraising efforts that Salesians in more than 130 countries are doing in support of Salesians on the front lines of this crisis.
*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.
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