Welcoming the people fleeing Ukraine
Thank you to those who attended our Ukraine Emergency Response Webinar last week!
For those who missed out we are excited to be able to share the video here with you all.
The webinar outlined the swift international effort of the Jesuit network in supporting thousands of vulnerable refugees fleeing the crisis in Ukraine.
We spoke with special guests and project partners of Jesuit Mission, Fr Alberto Ares SJ, Director of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Europe and Fr Marius Talos SJ, Director of Jesuit Refugee Service Romania, who are both managing the situation on the ground.
“The Society of Jesus activated the emergency response in less than a week. We opened houses from the very beginning to welcome arriving refugees and provided critical support for vulnerable people, including children with cancer and other serious health concerns." - Fr Alberto
Thanks to a partnership between Jesuit Mission through Xavier Network and JRS (JRS) Europe, at-risk communities fleeing the Ukraine are being provided with emergency shelter, food, psychosocial support, medical escorts, translation and accompaniment.
“JRS Romania has already attended to more than 10,000 refugees, supporting different aspects of their needs, from welcoming to integrating them." - Fr Marius
Among these refugees, more than half are children, who have walked for two days to arrive at the border exhausted and traumatised.
“Meeting an 11-year-old boy (refugee) carrying his trolley without any adult accompanying him, is the most shattering image I have ever witnessed." - Fr Marius
“So, in front of destruction and shattering dreams, we have to propose and to promote the building up of opportunity and provide long term solutions including schooling, housing and services of integration." - Fr Marius
The current crisis in Ukraine has prompted dialogue on the plight of refugees around the world, especially with the European Union agreeing in record time to activate protection and legal status to help people fleeing the war in Ukraine.
“Unfortunately, I think refugees and migrants, especially from other continents are treated as scape goats and do not receive the same treatment in Europe. Migration is often instrumentalised to generate fear and polarisation." - Fr Alberto
However, the Jesuits in Europe are ensuring that refugees are treated with dignity, and they are going above and beyond in delivering both immediate and long-term support for those in desperate need. Dance classes and playrooms for children have additionally been set up to allow people to temporarily disconnect from the reality of the world and to laugh.
“For years we have been suffering from social distancing, finally, with this crisis, we are all witnessing and experiencing the importance of social proximity." - Fr Marius
Thanks to the incredible generosity of supporters, Jesuit Mission has extraordinarily raised nearly half a million dollars to support JRS Europe’s emergency response to welcome refugees in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries.
We are so incredibly grateful for every single donation – these gifts are already making a tangible difference supporting Ukrainian people when they are at their most vulnerable.
If you would like to support refugees fleeing the crisis in Ukraine, you can donate here.DONATE NOW
Let us join together in the Prayer of Welcome written by Fr Michael Hansen SJ, National Director of the First Spiritual Exercises Program.