Director of Caritas-Spes Ukraine: I told the Pope about people’s heroism during the war

Caritas remembers that the integration of Ukrainians in Europe is a threefold challenge. On side, refugees need jobs. And on the other, their children need to receive an education, something which today is complicated. 

Caritas Rome
There are situations in which some families want to return as soon as possible to Ukraine, rightly so, and so they don’t want to send their children to school, they continue doing remote learning from Ukraine. On the one hand, this is very nice because it keeps that active link, but it doesn’t lead to integration.

Now, Caritas is warning of the huge challenge ahead of them of supporting families through the trauma of being separated from their loved ones.

Such as was the case with Natalia, who escaped from Ukraine in March while waiting for her children to follow here.

Until my children made it here I couldn’t eat or sleep.

Or with Kateryna and Yulya, whose husbands fought in the battle of Mariupol.

You are our last hope. We hope you can save their lives. Please don’t let them die.

That’s why Caritas Ukraine is asking countries that receive refugees to be patient and to help their fellow citizens, especially from a psychological point of view.

In fact they say that in Ukraine, that’s half the battle.

Caritas Ukraine
In the begining, when there is a trauma you don’t inmediatly go deep. Yeah? The first moment is just that moment when you need somebody, when you encounter them, when you are able to welcome them with love and compasion, with empathy. And that is the first step that I think Caritas is being working on.

The second step is just as important: helping refugees deal with trauma as it manifests itself.

That’s why the leadership of of Caritas and Caritas-Spes Ukraine urge countries not to leave refugees behind, and to invest in this type of work.

They made their appeal from Rome, where they gave their testimony on how they cope with the horrors of war on a daily basis.

The organization praised the work of the Vatican’s ambassador, who was one of the few diplomats who did not leave the country during the early stages of the war. And they also met with the Pope.

Caritas-Spes Ukraine
I told him about the children that I met in Ukraine, I told him about the heroism of that people, I told to him about eyes that have seen war in Ukraine, about experience of that people.

In total, more than 6 million people fled Ukraine from the start of the war until the first half of May, although reports estimate the true figure is much higher.

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