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Don Bosco's Salesians throughout Poland continue to join forces to help the victims of the war. The on-going challenge is to prepare housing for refugees which are mostly women and children. Currently, they have housed over 1100 refugees in Salesian works throughout Poland, however this number is dynamic and changes daily.

Community members working with the Salesians have also opened their doors to provide safe housing for Ukraine families. It is estimated at a cost of 15 euro a day per refugee less Polish Government Subsidy it will cost just over 500,000 a month to continue to provide assistance.

Despite the threat of war, Salesians have managed to send dozens of humanitarian convoys to Ukraine, containing medical supplies, food, blankets, power generators, personal hygiene items including 47 tons of flour to make bread. Community members also make their cars available to perform this important work. Churches have been converted into storage facilities where volunteers from Ukraine and Poland participate in the sorting and packaging of donations and provide assistance at reception points throughout cities and at the border of Ukraine.

This video follows some of the workers as they go about their critical efforts

Over 75,000 Ukrainian children have already started their education in Polish schools, some of them attended Salesian Schools in Ukraine. In addition, the Youth Centres are open and offering special programs such as Polish language courses, medical and legal assistance, psychological support and facilitate the search for places for refugees to live and work.

We are pleased to say with your generous support Salesian Missions Australia has raised over $48,000 for Ukraine Relief. Thank you for your support as we continue to be united and pray for peace.

Natalka’s Story - Only Bread

Without light and heating for days, sheltered in a cellar, with all the shops closed and only being able to buy bread when it was distributed in the streets... this was Natalka's life with her children, aged five and two, before leaving Kharkov three weeks ago.

"The worst thing 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 by saving their lives".

Natalka's eldest son, Oleh, often asks about his father. "I have told him that he has gone on a journey, when in fact we are the ones who have travelled".

Until they reached Medyka, the border crossing to Poland, they spent several days on foot, as well as by bus and train. "The worst thing was the cold and the snow, carrying one child in my arms, a big backpack and holding the other by the hand. It is very unfair what we are suffering," she says.

One of the Salesians of the house that took her in tells me that "they arrive with a lot of stress and anguish, even the children, for whom everything is new. One day, out in the courtyard, Natasha heard the sound of an aeroplane and Natalka was in a state of shock as she relived the moments before the bombing".

Natalka tries to talk to her husband every day, but they can't give each other much information either. "It is enough for me to know that he is well and that we are still united. I also console him with the solidarity I have received since I arrived in Poland, especially from the Salesians.

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