Poland + 1 more

Camillians in the frontline to welcome Ukrainian refugees at the railway station in Warsaw


Since the very beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, CADIS International, a humanitarian foundation of the Catholic Order of St. Camillus has mobilized its resources in collaboration with the Camillian missionaries in Poland.
With more than 3.5 million people having fled to Poland since February 24, the immediate priority has been food and shelter to vulnerable women, children and elderly fleeing from the different places of the country, particularly Mariupol and Kiev.

CADIS International is implementing an emergency intervention programs of first assistance to arriving refugees at the railway and bus stations of Warsaw, temporary shelters to most needy families, psychosocial, medical and humanitarian support to refugees and the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Odesa and Kramatorks. The overall goal is to provide the necessary and humane living conditions of the refugees and IDPs and to help refugees gain a certain level of autonomy in their lives.

Aside from providing them with their basic needs for food and shelter, other components of the program include the following: medical, psychosocial and humanitarian support, Polish language classes, socio-cultural activities, job placement orientation and unconditional cash assistance.

At the central railway and bus stations in Warsaw, the Camillian Mission for Social Assistance (CMSA) team coordinates and facilitates the first reception activities and assistance to the refugees. In the months of March and April, CMSA volunteers served up to 10.000 refugees arriving daily at the stations. In May, the city government and the management of the stations have entrusted to the CMSA the management and reception of refugees. Over 200 volunteers, Polish nationals and foreigners rendered services 24/7. Several information desks were set up in the strategic points of the stations; some volunteers are roving in and out of the stations’ premises to assure that no one is left behind. A temporary tent was set up just outside the stations where hot meals are served with a friendly space for children while waiting for their final dispatch to the shelters (hotel or family home).

In May, it has been noticed that new arrivals at the stations were decreasing significantly. There were also a number of refugees who travelled back to Ukraine in safe regions. As of June, CMSA volunteers have been serving 3,500 to 5,000 new arrival refugees; around 1,000 meals are served daily at the tent. New arrivals received one-time cash assistance of 500 PLN through Sodexo Cards distributed at the CMSA main headquarter after registering at the stations. Online registration for the cash assistance is also available on their mobile phones. 250 cards are distributed per batch to avoid congestion at the center. Cash assistance is given to some priority groups: mother with a child, elderly, person with disability and lone traveler. CMSA team has also entered into cooperation with the authorities of the City of Warsaw and Piaseczno for the distribution of cash assistance to the most needy refugees.

Two temporary shelters in Ursus and Lomianki are provided to 48 refugees, particularly those with children and the needy. The goal is not only to provide a room to stay but a dignified shelter (home) where refugees can act with autonomy. Rooms with bath and toilet are provided to each refugee family. Some of the refugees are employed in the program rendering services to daily maintenance and food preparation. Psychologists are coming weekly for some growth group sessions and individual counseling. A team of physician and nurses is doing a weekly visit to the refugees and give some referral for medical needs that demands careful attention. Both facilities are equipped with children’s friendly spaces, computer labs, internet, laundry service, kitchen and common dining hall to facilitate interaction among themselves. Cultural events, summer camps, robotic classes, kindergarten and primary schools are offered to them. Job assistance programs are also provided to help mothers to find a source of income and find a flat to be able to regain what has been lost, particularly their autonomy and independence. By August, the shelter in Lomianki will accommodate another 20 needy families.

Assistance to IDPs is delivered to Ukraine in the cities of Bucza, Chernihiv and other locations in the east. A total of 30,000 IDPs will receive humanitarian assistance (food and non-food supplies) by August. Two government hospitals in Odesa (8,000) and Karmatorks (2,000) received vital medical equipments and essential medicines and helping indirectly a total of 10,000 people - 2 high-frequency radio-wave devices for surgery, 3 infusomats, 2 electro- coagulators and 2 ultrasound machines adapted for Doppler. These hospitals treat injured civilians from the front and all evacuees from the border. Medical supplies were distributed also in Lviv reaching 2,000 people. The relief distribution is in collaboration with Dobra Fabryka, a Polish NGO, and the local contacts in the churches.
The humanitarian assistance program is a joint effort of Tzu Chi Foundation, Salute e Sviluppo, Missione Calcutta, Pro.Sa, CESMET, the Polish Camillians and the Camillian Disaster Service International foundation, the lead organization.

Our priority now is to help the refugees in Poland to find a clear path towards their future, whether they will live in Poland or other countries of Europe or go back home to Ukraine. The unpredictable and volatile situation of the Ukraine crisis should not create a hindrance to the refugees to start a new life and regain their autonomy. CADIS is committed to assist the refugees until they regain independence and normalcy. CADIS journeys with them in this process of recovering their dreams for their future.

The updates are regularly published on www.cadisinternational.org