We are very grateful to you for your tremendous help and for lifting our work up to God. Our hearts are full of gratitude. Here is a brief report on our recent activities.
We are in the process of setting up a new website in seven language versions (Polish, English, Ukrainian, Russian, Spanish, French, Italian) or more if there is need. Previously, we used the Polish website of the Department of Family Pastoral Care, translating some of the texts and posting them alongside those in Polish, but as our project develops and many people ask about donations, we decided to move to a separate website. To facilitate donations, we will have PayPal and other payment options available.
Our director Fr. Marek Machała is on the road for the most part of every day. Currently he is on the lookout for new locations where we could welcome more guests from Ukraine (for now, we host most of them in and around Ustrzyki Górne). There are plenty of suitable places as the southeastern corner of our country is a very popular tourist region. We are now looking at two specific buildings which might soon become available to us. Below you can see the most recent addition to our accommodation base: some of the Ukrainian people under our care now live in one of the most beautiful places in the area, a guest house called Chreptiów, in Lutowiska near Ustrzyki Górne. The negotiated price is the same as in our other locations.
We have some volunteers working with us from the beginning of the war, but we need more and so we are constantly searching for reliable people, ideally with the knowledge of Ukrainian and English. This week we are meeting with one candidate who was the leader of volunteers in Przemyśl (in the former Tesco store used as a primary reception point) at the beginning of the war. We are also talking with a Ukrainian living in France who is willing to come to Poland in order to help us. At the same time, we have begun to look for Ukrainian-speaking psychologists who could offer online support free of charge in their spare time. Fr. Marek contacted a Ukrainian/Russian speaking friend who will also be looking out for more volunteers for us.
After welcoming the refugees in the best conditions possible, our second most important goal is to help those who want to start a new life in western Europe. We have created a network of partners from many countries in Europe and North America who want to help welcome refugees from Ukraine. The response has been truly extraordinary with many people generously opening their homes, providing food, paying utility bills, and committed to supporting the refugees long term in order to assist them in finding suitable employment. As part of this collaborative project, we have already organized several buses to France, to Spain, and to Sweden. Another bus to France will be departing tomorrow. We ensure that all of these refugees are guaranteed the best possible future living conditions, including help with all governmental documents, employment, free accommodation as well as organizing kindergarten and school for children. By now we’ve sent over two hundred people to different locations in Spain, Sweden and France.
There are many moving moments as we witness the joy of the refugees and the kindness of those who come to offer them a safe home away from home. We’ve had pictures and messages from the families showing how much they enjoyed their new reality. It was a relief to see some of the children happily playing in a swimming pool in the yard of their new home, or one of the mothers taking a mountain walk with her friends on a radiant sunshiny day.
We’re grateful to have doctors and nurses from Canada serving at our care centers in Ustrzyki Górne. They take turns; today we are taking to the Kraków airport the physician who has been with us for the past week, and a new doctor is coming. She will be staying with us until May 6.
We’ve also had a very interesting presentation on the possibilities of emigrating to Canada. We set up a video call with a Ukrainian-Canadian lawyer, gathering our guests together so they could listen and ask questions (the entire presentation was in Ukrainian.) She gave us all sorts of details regarding life in Canada and the emigration procedures.
We’ve had a meeting with a Swedish organization from Stockholm called OperationAid. They have declared their readiness to send us a bus even every week and take as many as 40-50 people every time. We have already sent two buses to Sweden, and we’ve had positive feedback from our Ukrainian guests who chose to go and settle there.
EXTRAS & FUN
Two days ago in Ustrzyki Górne we had a second visit of the wonderful Pizza Truck: Jennifer de Tapia and her team from Chicago delighted the hearts of all our Ukrainian guests (especially the kids of course) by delivering free pizza and lots of joy.