Jesuits present their experience of helping refugees and IDPs in Lviv

22 March 2017, 12:22 | Charity, social service | view photo | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

On March 21, Jesuit Refugee Service held a roundtable in Lviv, where presented its experience of helping people who have left their homes for various circumstances in search of a better life in a foreign land.


At its event, they invited representatives of the Church, society, lawyers, media, employees of the Migration Service and Caritas.


Jesuit priest Oleksiy Bredelyev said that their service had been operating in Ukraine since 2008. Nine years ago, they bought a small house on Antonovych street, where a shelter for refugees was arranged. His first visitors were fugitives from Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq. Ukraine is seen as a transit country and is not always found themselves on their own. And after Russia had occupied Crimea and invaded the east of Ukraine, fugitives from these regions joined the number of the shelter’s inhabitants.


“Caring for the most vulnerable categories of the population is an essential part of being a believer,” the priest gave the reason why the Jesuits decided to open a shelter.


According to statistics, now in Ukraine, there are more than 7,000 refugees and 2 million 700 thousand of internally displaced persons from the Crimea and Donbas.  Their number in Lviv region has reached 12 thousand, in the city of Lviv - more than seven thousand.


Now the house of Jesuit Refugee Service shelters families from the east Ukraine and two from Syria and Tajikistan.


In general, according to deputy director of Jesuit Refugee Service Inga Dul, during the lifetime of their service the agency has received 70 refugees and internal displaced persons 30.


“Our people have a good opportunity to rest, start a job search, place the child in a kindergarten or a school,” she said.


The house of Jesuit Refugee Service is designed for 24 beds. There is a kitchen, a classroom for study, recreation hall, lounge with computers.


The stay is free for residents. They are forbidden to drink alcohol, for security reasons they are not allowed to bring guests. Everyone cleans their room and places of public access. The term of stay for displaced persons is three months, for refugees – six months. This should be enough time to find work and housing.


Bishop Ian Sobilo of Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhya of the Roman Catholic Church and Chairman of the committee of “Pope for Ukraine" said that the Holy Father places great emphasis on helping the needy people. But, unfortunately, in Ukraine they are numerous. In particular, the bishop spoke about the trip to the occupied territories and poverty among the population.



“There's a lot of poor people, especially in Luhansk. No water, no transport is operating. Complete hopelessness. People want to move to Ukraine, but do not have means and place to go ... We need to give people hope. There are many patriots, but they cannot tell it,” said the hierarch.


According to the organizers of the roundtable, every month they spend an average of 60 thousand UAH for needs of their house. These funds are enough for the bare necessities. If they had more money, they could bring more benefits to the needy. There are many people who are willing to cooperate with them, but not all experts are ready to work on a volunteer basis.


Photos by Olena Kulygina


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