Meeting of the Coordinating Team for Aid to Ukraine
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Meeting of the Coordinating Team for Aid to Ukraine
DATE: December 15, 2022 CATEGORY: News

On November 29-30, 2022, a meeting of the Coordinating Team for Aid to Ukraine was held at the Provincial House in Warsaw, on the initiative of Father George Menamparampil, responsible for Salesian coordination of emergency response. Along with the Warsaw Coordination Team, the meeting was attended by Angel Gudiña, coordinator of the Don Bosco Network (Spain), Alžbeta Kyselica Zelná, coordinator of humanitarian aid to Ukraine (Slovakia), and Alberto Livoni, coordinator of humanitarian aid at the VIS organization (Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo, Italy).

Participants discussed how best to join forces and organize well to help the needy population in Ukraine during the difficult winter season, when low temperatures and frequent lack of electricity throughout the country become a challenge. Online meetings were also conducted: with the Superior of the Salesian Visitation of the Greek Catholic Rite in Ukraine, Father Mykhaylo Chaban, with the Superior of the community in Kiev, Sister Anna Zainchkovska FMA, and with Father Piotr Pawelec, the Provincial Economer of the Krakow Province (PLS), which also includes Salesian communities of the Latin Rite in Ukraine.

After the meeting, Alberto Livoni, Alžbeta Kyselica Zelná and Iakob Tunievi, a volunteer from Slovakia, traveled to Lviv, taking with them for the Salesian communities food thermoses purchased as humanitarian aid thanks to the support of Salesian Missions Australia, and food products purchased as part of the project entitled “Supporting Salesian communities in Ukraine bringing humanitarian aid to victims of war,” funded by the Polish Humanitarian Aid 2022 program, under the Polish development cooperation of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On behalf of the Salesian Family, we would like to thank all those who continually support activities aimed at helping Ukraine and its people.

Ukraine – a true Don Bosco response of solidarity
DATE: March 18, 2022 CATEGORY: News

While the war in Ukraine continues and the world’s attention is on the chances of success of the negotiations, for those who remain in the bomb-torn country, the options to survive largely depend on international solidarity – a front on which the Salesians are always on the front line.

Without lighting and heating for days, sheltered in a cellar, with all the shops closed and being able to buy bread only when it was distributed on the street … this was the life of Natalka with her children, aged five and two, before leaving Kharkiv three weeks ago.

“The worst part was the cold for my children because all I could think about was what I was leaving behind – my husband, but most of all what I was gaining – saving their lives.”

They traveled for several days on foot, but also by bus and train until they reached Medyka, the border crossing with Poland. “The worst was the cold and the snow, carrying a baby in my arms, a big backpack, and holding the other by the hand. It is very unjust what we are suffering,” she says.

Now that she is welcomed by the Salesians, it is not as if everything is resolved. The children are frightened as soon as they hear the sound of a plane and there is always fear for the fate of her husband, whom she calls every day. But Natalka is happy as long as she knows he is fine, and he is consoled by knowing the solidarity that the family receives, “from the Salesians, above all.”

Natalka’s family is certainly not the only one to be welcomed by the Polish Salesians. Overall, the Sons of Don Bosco from the four Polish Provinces have prepared 1,117 places in Salesian refugee centers throughout Poland, of which 501 are already occupied and 366 are free. They are currently sharing what they have, but as maintaining such a large number of refugees is costly, they will need more and more support.

Despite the threat of war, they also managed to send dozens of humanitarian convoys to Ukraine. They bring medical supplies, food, blankets, generators, personal hygiene items. The synergy is significant: for example, thanks to a collaboration with the Mission Office of Bonn, in Germany, they managed to purchase 300 camp beds with as many pillows and duvets and 600 sets of bed linen and towels.

Another testimony of effective and efficient Salesian support comes from Zhytomyr, Ukraine, about 130 km from Kyiv, where last Wednesday, 16 March, the local Salesian house received a new car as a gift.

Fr Michał Wocial, a Salesian who works at the Salesian house, had asked for help after the old school bus broke down on one of the various trips to help refugees flee to Poland.

 “It was a priority operation for us,” says Fr Jacek Zdzieborski, Director of the Salesian Mission Office in Warsaw. “We were able to quickly find a seller of an 8-seater minivan with a large trunk, as was needed. A week later, the vehicle had already been purchased, imported, registered, and insured.”

And they were not long in finding a donor: the purchase was soon financed by “Missioni Don Bosco”, the Salesian Mission Office of Turin.

Ukraine – The war with Russia and the Don Bosco response
DATE: March 9, 2022 CATEGORY: Emergency, News, Top News

The situation at the Polish-Ukranian border

Beginning of March 2022, this crisis started with the Russian military invasion in Ukraine. It was the start of a war, the start of a tremendous humanitarian crisis. Millions of people fleeing towards neighbouring countries, cities who are under constant threat of being bombed, families losing everything as their houses are turned in to ruines, …

Immediately after the first incoming news, the Salesians in Ukraine started organizing themselves to host affected families, offering medical and food support to families and parishioners in need, …
Neighbouring provinces offered their support to the Salesians in Ukraine. The Slovak province, in collaboration with the salesians in Lviv and Ukrainian police transported 50 orphans, staying in the salesian center in Lviv, to Slovakia. The children were placed in families closely linked to the Salesians. The Krakow province in Poland (PLS) organized their centres and offices (SWM) to start immediate emergency help for Ukraine: gathering medical aid, food, matrasses, generators, … Trucks with this urgent aid left from Poland to reach Ukraine as soon as possible.

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Deadliest Earthquake in 2021 hits Haiti
DATE: August 23, 2021 CATEGORY: Emergency, News

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Haiti before noon August 21, 2021. During the next couple of days, the earth was strongly shaken many times more. At least 2,248 people were confirmed killed as of 1 September 2021 and above 12,200 injured, mostly in the Sud-department. DBN immediately called the emergency reaction procedure.

After consultations, DBN is supporting the coordinating information flow and the Salesians in Haiti. The PDO in Haiti Nepal, Fondaton Rinaldi are responsible for coordination of relief work on the spot.

Communities in Haiti struggled receiving aid due to difficult work and safety situation in Haiti. Roadblocks by gangs, blocked relief aid, kidnapping of salesians made the situation very difficult to work in.

Let Hope, Solidarity and Confidence guide you into 2021
DATE: December 23, 2020 CATEGORY: News

The year 2020 has come to an end. Ideal time to share Christmas wishes and make Newyears resolutions. Our president Peter Annegarn and coordinator Fonny Grootjans put forward 3 words which guided us through 2020 but also words that inspire us to step into 2021 with new perspectives.