Thank you for supporting people who have fled their homes in Ukraine. Your donation to the Ukraine Appeal will help families with cash grants, psychosocial care and other support. Help is very much needed.
Update On Ukraine Response
With other agencies, CWS is funding the humanitarian work of ACT Alliance member, the Lutheran World Fellowship (LWF) in Poland.
We are grateful for the generous donations and the $150,000 matching grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that 1.4 of the 7.5 million people who have found refuge in Europe are in Poland.
In Poland, LWF runs six centres in partnership with local parishes: Ostroda, Gdańsk, Bielsko Biala, Zgierz, Bytom, Wroclaw, and two mobile enrollment teams in Radom and Ostroda. Refugees register to receive cash assistance and protection as well as mental health and psychosocial support. LWF staff have been able to assist people with trauma counselling, psychological assistance, and referrals to services providing medical care, Polish law, and child-friendly spaces. It is providing emergency food and non-food items to help refugee families meet their basic needs.
The majority of staff employed in the centres and its Warsaw office are refugees themselves. The two mobile teams assist refugees unable to come to the centres.
- 53,757 refugees had enrolled for cash assistance, of whom 2,358 had disabilities.
- 2, 700 refugees received in-kind items like nappies, soap and wet wipes.
- 945 people had received mental health and psychosocial support
- 95 households had received cash assistance from the CWS contribution
- 3,083 children had attended the Child Safe Spaces
By August 30, 2022.
Cash grants are based on the number of family members and can be used to buy food, pay rent or purchase other items. Grants are paid once a month for three months. In April LWF distributed food and non-food items like family hygiene kits and women’s dignity kits assisting 1,800 individuals.
Hanna, Olga and their daughters arrived in Poland on April 5, 2022. Hanna had worked as a dance choreographer in Ukraine, and Olga was the deputy principal of a school where she taught as a child psychologist. Olga conducts online classes. Hanna is not working currently, and she does not know if she will be able to teach again.
“Thank God we have a place to live and something to eat. But we have to leave the apartment where we live now by Sunday, and we don’t know where to go. We would like to find stability in our lives. For now, we are experiencing constant emotional swings… we don’t know what will happen next. We don’t know what will happen when the financial assistance from LWF ends,” they say.
It is very hard for Olga and Hanna without their loved ones. Their children miss their fathers very much and keep asking to go home. The children ask their relatives remaining in Ukraine to send photos of places where they spent their free time before the war. Hanna suffers from a serious illness and due to the lack of treatment options, she cannot get treatment.
“We only want what people have in peacetime. We want stability and security. We want stability for ourselves and our children… certainty that in a week or a month we will have a place to live and what to eat.”
Natalia and Hanna are grateful for all the help they receive. The language barrier is the greatest difficulty so far. They would love to learn Polish but cannot afford to pay for training courses. They prefer to use the money they have to pay for food and their apartment.
“We like Gdańsk very much and we would like to stay here,” they say.
If there was no war, Olga said she would be preparing for her husband’s birthday. He is now in Ukraine and risks his life every day.
“My Job Makes me Feel more Needed”
“I had to flee Ukraine. It was terrible… I had to leave my home, my job… I was forced to leave the country to protect my children,” Olga says.
Olga worked in a state bank in Ukraine. She already had experience working with refugees, as she helped the displaced people who fled Donbas in 2014. Olga claims that her children have already adapted to life in Poland. She would like to stay in Poland, live and work here.
She believes that, as a refugee, she understands best the needs of other Ukrainians who are fleeing the war.
Moreover, she is grateful and glad to work at the Centre in Gdańsk.
“This job makes me feel more needed… I feel that these people need me. I am also doing everything in my power to keep my children from feeling the fear and stress that accompanies all these people fleeing the war. I just want my kids to have a normal life,” she adds.
Olga is most concerned that she will not be able to support her children and provide them with a decent life.
“I am grateful for all the help we have received from Poland and humanitarian organisations. This help is indispensable for us to survive and live in Poland,” she concludes.
Thanks to Olga, Hanna, Olga and LWF for sharing these stories.
October 5, 2022