Our sisters in Romania are also actively involved in helping refugees from Ukraine who are seeking shelter in neighbouring countries. Here is the experience told by Sr. Tereziana Sociu CJ
The suffering of people displaced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also affects the community of Radauti, which is 20 km from the Ukrainian border.
Our community in Radauti runs a Kindergarten and a Social Centre “Mary Ward”. In the Centre we work together with our lay partners to combat poverty and exclusion of families with children with physical disabilities and families with children at risk of becoming school drop outs.
When people displaced by the war in Ukraine started to arrive, the local authorities mobilised and asked for help from the population to deal with the crisis in the area. We offered our availability to the local authorities.
Hundreds of students from India studying in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, who wished to return to their homeland passed through the Radauti refugee camp in early March. As it was snowing and very cold in the tents, we provided them with thick clothes and boots so that the students could more easily withstand the cold of those days spent in the camp. After 5 days of accommodation in the refugee camp, they were provided with planes to travel to their home country. In those days, we helped in the refugee centres of Radauti and Milisauti with blankets, personal hygiene and cleaning products and others.
When the first wave of displaced people left, we were asked to wash the sheets that people used during their temporary stay in the camp. The firefighters and policemen who are on duty in the refugee centre continue to bring to the Social Centre all the used sheets. In the Social Centre “Maria Ward” we have two large washing machines, where the children who do not have facilities to wash at home can bring clothes to wash, because they do not have running water.
Displaced people who want to go to another country stay in this refugee centre until a group is formed for a certain destination, then they are provided with a bus and taken to their new destination.
On Friday 4 March, we went to the customs office in Siret, because we were asked to take care of a student from India coming from Ukraine. At customs, we met a family with a 4-year-old girl who had nowhere to spend the night. They had a flight the next day to Italy from Suceava. We accommodated the family in the Centre and took them to the airport the next day.
Also, some organisations and religious congregations that come to the area to help refugees and do not have accommodation, ask us to provide them with accommodation during their stay in the area. We are grateful for the possibility to contribute our “loaves and fishes” to help our brothers and sisters who suffer the consequences of this war, which like all wars is cruel and unjust. We carry in our hearts the faces and stories of suffering, so we are available to help more if necessary.
Sr. Tereziana Sociu CJ (Latin European Province)