On February 24 and every day we pray for peace in Ukraine. We invite you to join us in special prayers this weekend.
The World Council of Churches and the Ukrainian Council of Churches are calling us to pray and fast at this time.
On this day we want to thank so many of you who have prayed for peace and donated to our appeal for Ukraine.
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I am safe here
One year ago, when the war started in Ukraine, Viktoria fled to Poland with her two young children. The move was made easier because of the support she received from the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), a local ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) member, supported by the Christian World Service Ukraine Appeal. Viktoria learnt about the local Community Centre from other parents.
“We are extremely grateful to Poland and LWF for their help. It is a great idea! I was incredibly happy that my children would be able to come here during the winter holidays. It is a tremendous help. We can meet other people and get to know Polish culture better,” says Viktoria.
The family of three are some of the more than 1.5 million Ukrainians who have found safety in Poland.
In the first months of the conflict, LWF set up six cash assistance centres with the help of local parishes and the UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee organisation. The Centres have provided 69,582 people with cash assistance, household and comfort items, and dignity and hygiene supplies.
On November 15, the centres became Community hubs where people could meet and find support. Ukrainian social workers organised mental health and psychosocial support from the Centres. Most children attend Polish schools, but some attend online education from Ukraine or take part in its children’s programmes. These centres also organise activities for older people.
In the final three months of 2022, 3,011 received psychosocial help, of which 150 were directly funded through the CWS Ukraine Appeal. Of the 6,340 children who enjoyed the Child Safe Spaces, 163 were funded by your donations. CWS also funded cash grants for 60 households, 164 child comfort kits, 10 disability items and 150 places in the Woman Safe Space.
Viktoria wants to return to Ukraine but says it is too dangerous. “I dread to even think what could have happened [if we had stayed]. I do not want to go home right now. I am safe here and my children are safe here too. My children and their future are my top priority,” she adds.
Viktoria is hoping to find work to support them but in the meantime has bought medicines and non-food items with the cash vouchers provided by LWF.
“The Centre in Gdansk is really amazing! I am glad that there is such a place in Gdansk,” said Victoria.
CWS is grateful to donors and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for a $150,000 grant for this work. Further donations to the Ukraine Appeal will continue to help ACT Alliance aid Ukrainian refugees affected by the war.
February 24, 2022
Read Together: LWF responds to the War in Ukraine – with your support matched by the New Zealand Government.
Read Ukraine: One Year Later from ACT Alliance.
Photo credits: WCC/Ivars Kupcis and LWF