On 24th February 2022, the Russian Army invaded Ukraine. The situation immediately appeared bad: thousands of women and children from Kharkiv, Kyiv, Donetsk, Luhansk and neighboring regions, were leaving their houses to flee from bombs and the Russian siege, travelling or even walking for miles.
From the beginning of the conflict, PRO.SA Foundation has been supporting the sheltering of refugees who get to Ternopil, a small city on the way to Leopoli, where it is possible to reach Poland and other European countries, such as Italy.
The Ternopil Charitable Foundation – CARITAS, asked us for help through its coordinator Fr. Andriy Marchuk, who lived with the Camillians during his studies in Italy.
In the first weeks, 100 refugees per day have been received at Caritas, especially mothers and children. Some mothers with their little babies asked to stay for some time, hoping to go back home soon; others chose to keep on their journey after a few days. A month after the outbreak of the war, 479 people had already been given refugee at the Caritas Foundation.
The migratory flow has now decreased but there are still many refugees who knock on the Caritas doors, where the volunteers work 24/7 to offer special care and attention to every face they meet. At Caritas, the hosts are provided with three meals daily and have free access to water and other drinks; they are given hygiene products but also clothes, underwear, strollers and toys for the babies. Caritas also grants psychological support for all and takes charge of medical visits for severe ill people. Nonetheless, a play area has been set up within the facility to help children feeling safe, in a place as comfortable and familiar as possible.
To date, Ternopil Charitable Foundation has welcomed 8.307 refugees, 58 of which are still sheltered in the structure. Many other families, who had come to Caritas at the very beginning of the war, finally found a new house and a new job far from the war zones.
It seemed surreal that a war was killing innocent victims right in the middle of Europe, so close to us. Just a few months later, however, we gave in to the idea of a war next to us, as if it were normal. The emergency is not over yet and the leaders of the two countries are not willing to stop. Fondazione PRO.SA pursues its intervention next to the elders, disabled people, women and children.
The campaign TOGETHER FOR UKRAINE is to be continued…