(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Ukraine and neighboring countries support young people in their schools, centers and oratories. About 2,000 young Ukrainians received support from Salesians in Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia. This does not take into account young people who have fled to other countries in Europe. During this emergency, Salesians are focused on trying to help young people live as normal a life as possible through education, socialization and ongoing support.
“First, our schools serve the children during their normal working hours,” explained Fr George Menamparampil, head of the Salesian General Coordination for Emergency Response. “In addition, our oratories are open to children every day and for daytime activities. The minors currently residing in the Salesian houses receive accommodation, food and all the help they need 24 hours a day, including the education, leisure and care that every child or young person needs.
The Salesian centers in Ukraine have all remained open. In an interview for Avvenire, the Catholic daily, Father Daniel Antúnez, president of the Don Bosco Mission in Turin, Italy, who has visited Salesian centers in Ukraine and Poland, said: “We asked ourselves what we could do and decided to make ourselves available to the people, those who lived there and those who were displaced.
Even though the cities of Ukraine have been devastated by bombings and attacks, 680 young people – 80% of the students before the invasion – continue to attend classes in Salesian educational centers through distance learning. The oratories welcome 208 young people and 70 older children and young people are accommodated in centers and Salesian houses.
In Poland, 398 young Ukrainians are in Salesian schools, 309 in oratories and 210 in Salesian homes. In Slovakia there are 60 Ukrainian children in the oratories and 50 have been received in Salesian homes.
Although there is no official account of young people in Salesian programs in Moldova, it has been reported that the Salesian house in Chișinău currently hosts almost 40 refugees, and since the beginning of the war, the Salesian center provided care to over 1,000 people.
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ANS – Ukraine – Salesian houses: oases always open to help and accompany young people