As a result of the invasion of Ukraine, the number of families fleeing to other European countries is growing steadily. Some 3,626,000 people – mainly elderly people, women and children – have left Ukraine to date because of the war with Russia, according to UNHCR. This is the largest refugee influx in 75 years.
The country hosting the largest number is Poland, with 2,144,000 refugees from Ukraine as of 22 March. Irena Jeśmanowicz from the Polish association for large families 3Plus tells us about the situation in her country.
Family to Family
“Today we witness the unimaginable suffering of Ukrainian Families separated, expelled from their homes, deprived of dignity and safety. They have been touched by the cruelest of all possible experiences – war. More than a million war refugees have already escaped to Poland, which borders Ukraine. Most of them have found shelter with Polish families, in their homes. Many families from the Association of Large Families “Three Plus” have become directly involved in helping.
We host Ukrainians, help them to collect the most important things and documents. Many adults help transport refugees from the border by driving their cars to pick them up. Older children and young people volunteer to help at train stations and aid points. Places are organized where Polish families bring clothes, toys, strollers and other necessary items that Ukrainians can get for free. You can see the enormous solidarity – the scale of help is really amazing.
But the needs are growing day by day. We also receive orphaned families with many children come to us… It is hard to hold back tears…
The Association of Large Families “Three Plus” has also opened the possibility of financial support for its aid activities:
Bank account dedicated for Ukraine:
- IBAN: PL87 1750 0012 0000 0000 3891 2027
- BIC/SWIFT: PPABPLPK
- Association of Large Families “Three Plus”
For large families helping Ukrainians we have also opened a dedicated infoline, where volunteers are on duty speaking in Polish and Ukrainian. We offer psychological and legal assistance to families in need.
We are already working on a family integration program. We want to help Ukrainian families who will stay in Poland for a longer period of time to adapt to the local environment.”
Hungary has received 395,000 refugees from its Ukrainian border. From the very first moment, they have been on the very front line of the border to welcome the families who arrived sad, broken, desperate, and to give them the warmth and affection they could, as well as material aid.
From the National Association of Large Families of Hungary, NOE, its vice president KInga Joó has sent us this video to tell us what they are doing in these hard times.
Irina Granzuela is the president of the association of large families in Romania, which has so far received 254,000 refugees from Ukraine. She tells us how they are helping them.
“Because of the crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, tens of thousands of Ukrainians migrated to Romania. ASFANU The Large Families Association from Romania has joined the humanitarian initiative «Adopt a Refugee! From people to people, From Family to Family». This initiative brings together non-governamental organizations with experience in helping refugees and people in need.
With the help of volunteers and partner organizations, we provide security and confidence for the correct allocation of donors resources, as well as the security of ensuring the needs of ukrainian refugees.
If you are interested in helping the ukrainian refugees living in Romania, please contact us (E-mail:email@example.com, tel. +40722643587) and we can tell you how you can help.”
Leonids Mucenieks, president of the Union of Latvian Large Families, also wrote to us about the activities of the Liepaja branch of the association.
“Liepāja Large Family Association “Dēkla” is proud of the Opanasjuku family. Despite the fact that the family has five children, it has decided to help the refugee family with children from Ukraine by providing housing.
The Ukrainian family has spent almost a week in Liepāja, but together they have already managed to get to know the most beautiful sights of Liepāja, introduced the taste of traditional Ukrainian cuisine, as well as successfully adapt and adapt to changes.
The families of the association mostly actively donate financial resources, as well as property and food as much as possible. Together, they are united in help to the best of their ability.”
Large families in Catalonia (Spain) mobilised to welcome refugees with children in their own homes. Not satisfied with this action, they collected all kinds of humanitarian aid material (medicines, clothes, food) and with seven vans belonging to their own families they travelled by caravan from 17 to 20 March to the Ukrainian border with Poland, taking turns as drivers to cover the 2,500 kilometres and 28 hours of continuous driving that separate Barcelona from the Polish city of Przemyśl, in the border.
Mariano Hernández, a father of nine children and one of the organizers, tells us:
“The heroes are the two Franciscans, Father Michel and Father Jarni, who keep more than 100 women and children in their convents, without electricity, food and medicine. You can’t imagine how thrilled they were to receive the generators and everything, including sweets and toys. The friars gave us a wonderful welcome and gave us dinner, bed and breakfast. They also celebrated mass for us in half Polish and half Spanish.
Finally, we came with 29 refugees, 16 children and 13 adults. The children range from 9 months to 11 years old. Two families were left in a Caritas house in Vic, two families went to the homes of two drivers, one family was picked up by relatives in Barcelona and another family went to the refugee camp in the Fira de Barcelona.
On this trip also travelled with us, although not in person, all the large families who helped with money, donated many things and prepared food for us for these four days”.