Report from Dana Chirica – Child Sponsorship (Romania) People against Poverty.
“June was full and busy, as summer is always for us. We started the month in full force with a children’s party on the occasion of International Children’s Day. At the party we had 11 Ukrainian children and 6 Romanian children, all with their mothers (35 persons in total). The smallest child from the party was 1 year and the oldest was 13. Both the children and their mothers at the end of the party confessed that they had a lot of fun and thanked us for a wonderful day! And we, in turn, thank you, because without you we could not have made this party possible.
Due to your support, we had pizza, cake, sweets, fireworks, confetti, decorations, napkins, cutlery and disposable glasses, transportation (some Ukrainian children came by taxi from the area where they were staying, because they don’t know the city and they got lost on the bus / streets) + an animator for the kids.
I want to remind you of the story with Mrs. Elena, one of the first refugees that arrived at Way of Joy Ministry, the lady we paid the rent for 3 months in a row, because although she was hired in April at one of the top confectioneries in Iasi, she lasted just one month. At the beginning of June, her boss fired her … now Elena wants to return to her hometown, Gostomel, although it is completely destroyed. Most likely she will return to her son, who is a policeman in Kyiv, although they are not yet safe there. Many Ukrainians are returning, although it is not yet certain when they will return. In the hope that she would change her mind and accept, we invited her to return to our association and stay as long as she needed. We will do our best to find her a new job, although it is very difficult, being 58 years old, having various medical conditions, including a condition that is very damaging to her spine, she has great back pain. (We have found a doctor that is speaks Russian so we will take her to get a check up). Another obstacle in finding a job for her is the fact that Mrs. Elena speaks only Russian and Ukrainian.
The 5 Ukrainians we told you about in the last newsletter are still with us at the association and we supply them weekly with food, water, consumables (laundry detergent, glasses, napkins, dishwashing detergent, surface detergent, floor disinfectant) and everything else they need. We celebrated Elena’s birthday and along all the Ukrainian ladies where we enjoyed karaoke, charades, dancing, pizza and Napoleon cake made by Mrs. Elena. This month we went also for clothes and shoes shopping. We have bought summer clothes, underwear, socks and shoes for all 5 Ukrainians that are living at Way of Joy and also for Elena.
We have attached below the testimony of a Ukrainian who could not leave the country and took refuge in a city in central Ukraine, at least for now, and we pray that the war will stop, that they are not bombed or shot at, as in border towns with Russia.
Testimony of a Ukrainian
My son’s name is Miroslav, which means ”peace and glory”…he is only 8 months old… but peace has disappeared. From the first day of the war, bombings and planes hovering over houses began in our city dropping bombs. On the fifth day of the war, water, electricity and internet connections were completely shutdown. On the seventh day of the war, there was already no gas or heat and from that day we started to have bombs near the apartment where we lived. We went to live with my mother, where the bombs had not yet arrived. We went to the store and bought for the last time, food and water, for my mother and wife who is still breastfeeding.
On the ninth day, the bombing arrived in the city where my mother is living, so the water, electricity, internet, gas and heating stopped. We improvised a stove in the yard, but we couldn’t use it too much because the Russians were marching in the street and we were afraid that we will be attacked. The bombs fell 200m from us. The windows shattered, glass debris came everywhere, we were scared. I wanted to leave, but I was not allowed. How can I leave my wife with our baby, my mother and mother-in-law without a man to protect them? I didn’t even know what day we were on, I had completely lost track of the days. People were scared. They were hiding everywhere they could. The drones were following us, they were approaching houses, to see if there were people inside…that’s why always it was dark in the house, but it’s very hard for us. Our baby son doesn’t understand why it’s always dark, we can’t change diapers in the dark. When we decided to leave the city, the Russians found us. They wanted to take our documents, but the Ukrainian soldiers came and I don’t even know how, but we ran away and got rid of them, at which point we arrived at a refugee camp in Mariupol where we stayed for 15 days, then I wanted to leave and to go in the western Ukraine. We passed 30 check points where they even checked our hands. At a checkpoint they made me take off my shoes and they left me bare foot. Usually the train from Mariupol to Zaporozhe takes 3 hours – it took us 14 hours. Finally we arrived in western Ukraine, where there are no attacks yet, we pray that the Russians don’t get here too.
You may be wondering why I didn’t let my family leave Ukraine? Because a family needs to stay together! Many people here have asked us ”how can we help you”? We have received help and we are a little better, we pray that the war does not get this far and that we raise little Miroslav in peace and quiet. Our life, with a snap of the fingers of an insane person, completely reset to zero. Emptiness inside and out, I am proud of our defenders and condemn aggression in all its manifestations, I believe that everything can be negotiated. Always!!! At the moment, the number of deaths in Mariupol as a result of the war is officially 20.000, according to unofficial records, it is 50.000. I have lost a lot of loved ones, a lot of relatives, but for what? How do we live on? These are feelings now, maybe it will become a little easier for us.” Oleg from Mariupol
In parallel with the work with the Ukrainian refugees, we continue our work with the poor people from Romania, those from Iasi and Ursita. Each family receives a monthly bag of food and the children from Ursita benefit from weekly activities with the leader from Ursita, Camelia. Camelia is a very thoughtful woman dedicated to work with the children, who has a huge heart and always eager to help as many families and children as possible. Each month we help around 10 families with a bag of basic food and due to the small space, between 30 – 50 children come in different shifts where the activities are done with a nourishing lunch.
Life is very different!