Update 8: Monday 10 October 2022
The bomb shelters you build in schools in Ukraine
I expect you heard Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ask Australia last week to increase our military support as Ukrainians defend their homeland.
Your ALWS action for the people of Ukraine is also increasing.
The generosity and kindness of people like you means last week ALWS was able to commit an extra $100,000 of aid.
The total of our life-restoring help together is now $300,000
– SIX TIMES our March commitment of $50,000. THANK YOU!
KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE IN SCHOOLS!
A key part of your ALWS action now is building bomb shelters in schools inside Ukraine.
You can see below the basement of the school at Dorogin. You support the LWF team to have toilets and amenities installed, to protect 100 students and teachers during air raids.
Bhoj Raj Khanal is the Interim Leader of the LWF team you support in Ukraine. He emailed me on Monday, and shared:
“The most urgent needs are repair of houses,
renovation of schools including bomb shelters,
protection-related community activities and preparing for winter.”
Bhoj explained that schools in Ukraine cannot open unless they have a bomb shelter.
Your support through ALWS will help ensure children and young people can safely return to school after months of interrupted school and on-line learning.
Natalia Mykolaivna Greben, who you see above, is Deputy Director of the Dorogin school where a basement is being converted to a bomb shelter. Natalia recalls:
“I saw the Russian troops march through our community,
and shoot at everything around.”
Natalia was forced to hide in her own basement for many days, then sneak out to try to find food for her and her elderly neighbours. On the last day of the occupation, the retreating soldiers shot at Natalia’s home, which burned down.
“I lost everything on that last day.”
YOUR WINTER ALWS ACTION INSIDE UKRAINE
Your continuing ALWS action in Ukraine is even more critical now as winter approaches.
Temperatures in Ukraine over Christmas can drop to minus 10. With so many buildings and so much infrastructure damaged by bombing, these freezing temperatures are a real threat.
Your work is focused in the Chernihiv region, between the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and the Russion border. This area was under Russian occupation for three months, and it was only a fortnight ago that it was safe for your LWF team to enter and plan the school renovation work you support.
The plan is to gradually increase support to the Kharkiv and Sumy regions.
YOUR ACTION FOR PEOPLE FLEEING FROM UKRAINE
Through ALWS, you continue to provide care to Ukrainians escaping to surrounding countries like Poland, Hungary and Romania.
Bartosz Pachuta is Liaison and Coordination Officer for the LWF team you support in Poland, where refugees from Ukraine like Daria (see photo) are now working with LWF to help fellow Ukrainians as they reach safety.
Daria is a PhD of Economic Sciences, and worked as an Auditor.
At LWF, she works registering refugees who need financial assistance. She says:
“I really like working here.
Feeling that you are doing something meaningful, and that you are helping people, and are being needed by society – this is very important.”
Daria cannot yet return to her home in Kharkiv, because it is still in the war zone …
… but says she feels very glad when she sees refugees leaving the centre joyful, after they have received help.
Photos: LWF / Bartoz Pachuta
You and I can’t work directly on the front line like Bhoj and Daria …
… but your kindness and generosity puts you right there in spirit, so I pray you feel the same sense of joy and value Daria does, in what you do helping others through ALWS.
(If you’d like to keep helping in Ukraine, you are welcome to donate to Ukraine here.)
Update 7: Wednesday 8 June 2022
YOUR NEW ACTION TARGETS 60,000 UKRAINE REFUGEES
While the war in Ukraine continues, so does your action through ALWS and our ACT Alliance partner LWF (Lutheran World Federation).
In Poland, LWF has launched a cash assistance program with the UNHCR for refugees in six locations across the country. The aim is to help at least 60,000 vulnerable families.
The head of each household is allocated $225 per month, along with $195 for each family member, for 3 months.
Cash grants are an efficient, fast and effective way of helping refugees.
Refugees enrol at one of the Lutheran-supported centres, and can then withdraw cash from banks across Poland. This enables people to buy what they decide they need most, and maintains their dignity as they act as equals in the marketplace.
This also supports the local economy – vital, as Poland hosts nearly two million refugees.
The centres also provide safe areas for children to play, as you can see in the photo.
Experience in refugee camps around the world where you work through ALWS partners show that Child-Friendly Spaces are vital to help children believe life can again be ‘normal’.
The LWF centres you support in Poland also provide counselling for children experiencing post-traumatic stress, and referral services for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
Meanwhile, Lutheran churches in countries bordering Ukraine – Romania, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – continue to offer refugees practical help including the food delivery you see here. LWF provides logistical support to church volunteers.
Thank you for all you do through ALWS to help people fleeing the war in Ukraine – you are a blessing ALWayS!
Update 6: Wednesday 22 April
Any available space – like this school gym – is converted into places to sleep for refugees fleeing Ukraine. You support this work through our ALWS partnership with ACT Alliance. (Photo: Hungarian Interchurch Aid)
ACT Alliance partner, Hungarian Interchurch Aid, has already delivered 345 tonnes of food, and hygiene and sanitation essentials. (Photo: Hungarian Interchurch Aid)
“We come here to Hungary. We go to the volunteers and now we know what care is about.
Now we have food, and documents for my son because his passport has run out. Then we go to the school to sleep …
… you know we have very thanks for the help because when you must go out from your home where you have friends and work and school, you have all these things, and then you are homeless, with just a bag …
… it’s very, I don’t say stressful, but you don’t understand what is going on, and you only think you should find safety with the children.
To be safe is the one thing. You go step by step. That’s why the help of other people is very, very important.”
WATCH 2 MINUTE VIDEO OF MARIA HERE
BRIEFING FROM THE FRONT LINE
Chey Mattner is Head of Operations for our ALWS partner, Lutheran World Federation. Chey visited the Lutheran churches in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, supported by LWF to implement your ALWS support for the people of Ukraine.
You can watch a 30 minutes briefing from Chey here.
Through ALWS, you are part of the Emergency Action Alliance, bringing together 15 of Australians leading aid agencies to work together to raise money to help people hurt by disasters.
Already $1.5 million has been raised from the general public for Ukraine – including funds generated by the ‘Concert for Ukraine’, featuring Ed Sheeran, and screened on the ABC.
ALL OUR NEIGHBOURS
Your ALWS action for the people of Ukraine is delivered by our partner Lutheran World Federation, through the ACT Alliance of churches worldwide.
Through ALWS, you also support the victims of forgotten wars in places like Tigray in northern Ethiopia, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Myanmar.
Rudelmar Bueno de Faria is General Secretary of the ACT Alliance.
Rudelmar highlights how important it is that as the world helps the people of Ukraine, victims of other wars not be forgotten:
“As general secretary of the ACT Alliance, I applaud everyone who is working to support those affected by this war. I hope that the response to the war in Ukraine, both in terms of the speed and the volume of the support, becomes the model for future humanitarian responses.
However, I want to discuss an important issue which has been raised by many of our members around the world. This is not the only huge humanitarian crisis we are facing today.
The fact that the brutality of this war is all over the news does not mean that other conflicts are less brutal or heinous.
In Tigray, Yemen, and South Sudan, to name a few, the humanitarian needs are dire. There are millions displaced in and around Afghanistan, Syria, and DRC. And while billions in aid are flowing to Ukraine and its people, the same cannot be said for those who are facing other crises.
The problem is not that Ukraine is receiving too much aid.
In fact, it needs as much support as it can get.
The problem is that not enough aid is made available for all crises. Most crises around the world are significantly underfunded as responding NGOs like ACT, the UN, and local and regional authorities struggle to meet the needs of the millions impacted.
These crises are also often connected.
For example, the war in Ukraine will have a devastating impact on Africa, where many countries are reaching near famine state, including South Sudan and Somalia.
Much of the wheat imported into northern Africa comes from Russia and Ukraine. In 2021, those two countries were responsible for almost 25% of the world’s exports of wheat. Those exports will likely not be available in 2022.
As Christians, our work draws on our faith, and our call is to support the most vulnerable everywhere and to work for a world where peace and justice reign, and the rights and dignity of all people are respected regardless of their race, creed, gender, or identity.
We call for a humanitarian funding system which is based on justice and solidarity, which does not discriminate on any basis – region, race, religion, gender, etc. – but responds to need as quickly and robustly as the Ukraine response has.
We call on the media to report on human suffering wherever it might take place, to discuss the reality of humanitarian need. Help to shine light on facts and the work of people to rebuild their own lives and communities, as well as on those around the world who support that work.
We call on all people of faith to continue to pray and work for a world of peace and justice, to promote and engage in dialogue, and to love our neighbours all over the world, supporting them as we are able.”
Through ALWS, you care for people in danger of being forgotten by the world – including many of ‘all our neighbours’, who Rudelmar has highlighted.
Visit our world map to see where you help people through ALWS. Thank you!
Update 5: Tuesday 22 March
Your ALWS help for Ukraine is delivered through the ACT Alliance of churches from around the world, working together.
One of the ACT Alliance partners delivering aid is Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA). As of 10 March, HIA had served 15,254 people hurt by the war in Ukraine:
Food Security & Livelihoods
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Health and Nutrition
Child / Family Protection
Total people supported
Visits at refugee support points
NB: 5,069 people received both food and hygiene support in Ukraine; 1,050 people received both food and hygiene support in Hungary. Source: HIA Update #2, 24 February – 11 March 2022
One of the families who received this support are the Musina family at Lviv Railway Station:
Mum Eugene, father Vitaly and their children were at a hospital in Kharkiv in Ukraine when the bombings started. They were at the hospital because 10-month-old Ivor needs a heart operation.
The bombings were so intense at the hospital, the family knew they had to leave. The journey to Lviv from Ukraine took 24 hours. The children slept at railway stations and on the floor of the train. They had nothing to eat.
Once they reached Lviv, they slept at a school that had been turned into a refugee shelter.
When their raid alarms started here too, the family decided they need to leave Ukraine, especially knowing baby Ivor needed a heart operation.
The family says they have received help including clothes, hygiene products, toothpaste, washing gel and support for the children.
The family must separate at the border because men aged 18 – 60 must stay in Ukraine to help defend their country. The family hope Ivor can have his operation, that they can be reunited and that one day they can all be together in Ukraine.
The HIA aid effort has included:
- working with Hungarian Lutheran Church to establish transitional collective shelters
- 12 trucks of supplies sent from Budapest to Beregova: 278 MT
- 7 million Euro worth of medical equipment to western Ukraine
- 2 refugee support points: Barabas (Hungary) and Asztely (Ukraine)
- Child-Friendly Space at Budapest Airport
- 3000m2 warehousing
- 30 – 50 volunteers working each day
Alongside this work of HIA, through ALWS and ACT Alliance you support the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in supporting the frontline efforts of churches in Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. LWF plans to use cash vouchers as a fast, easy and flexible way to give help to people, through this church-led response.
Your support for the people of Ukraine is precious. Thank you. Donate now
ALWS is part of the Emergency Action Alliance – 15 Australian aid agencies who work together at times of humanitarian crisis, like the people of Ukraine are suffering now, to motivate the Australian public to add their help to yours.
Update 4: Tuesday 15 March
Through ALWS, you support the response of our partner LWF (Lutheran World Federation) that aims to provide:
- Shelter / Non-Food Items: 41,000 people
- Food: 65,000 people
- Education: 39,000 people
- Psycho-social support: 2,000 people
- Community Engagement: 23,000 people
Total aimed to be supported: 170,000 people
Your ALWS action through LWF is delivered by LWF Member Churches in Ukraine, Hungary, Romania (2), Poland and Slovakia.
The LWF Global Humanitarian Team will also support and coordinate the front-line activities of Member Churches, so they can upscale as required. The Global Humanitarian Team brings skills from other refugee crises in WASH, livelihoods, psycho-social, safeguarding and gender.
The LWF action you support through ALWS is part of the combined response of churches of many denominations worldwide through ACT Alliance.
Update 3: Wednesday 9 March
Through ALWS, you support LWF (Lutheran World Federation) as it supports and coordinates the action of churches in countries neighbouring Ukraine. DONATE NOW
The photo above shows Hungarian volunteers already hard at work.
LWF has six member churches in the region:
- Romania (x 2)
These churches are uniquely placed to play a very important and irreplaceable role in helping victims of the war in Ukraine. Working through the churches, LWF plans a 4 Phase Action you support through ALWS:
- SCALE UP
Enable member churches to scale up and respond.
- COMPLETE CARE
Support churches to provide humanitarian, pastoral, capacity-building and advocacy efforts, to help meet both physical and psychosocial needs of displaced people.
- COORDINATE SUPPORT
Coordinate the support from outside the region so the member churches can focus on implementation and delivery of aid
- QUALITY AID
Lead churches in high quality programming to ensure high impact for those most in need, without discrimination
ACTION BY CHURCHES
Parishes of Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession provide accommodation across Poland.
Diakonia Polska transporting aid into Ukraine by mini-bus. On the return journey the mini-bus brings Ukrainian refugees.
Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA) supports internally displaced people arriving in western Ukraine. 28 tonnes of non-perishable food trucked from Budapest to Transcarpathia.
Evangelical Lutheran Church mobilises donations and prayer to support these efforts.
Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession collects funds to support refugees transiting through the Slovak Republic.
Transport goods into Ukraine, working with German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine.
The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession is working through the Ecumenoical Association of Churches in Romania to mobilise teams in Radauti, near the border with Ukraine. Provide refugees with food, hygiene items, blankets and clothes.
German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine is distributing goods to people in need.
Lutheran churches across the region are undergirding the relief efforts with prayer support. LWF supports the coordination of these aid efforts so they can be scaled up in quantity, while maintaining quality.
Through ALWS, you help victims of the war in Ukraine through both LWF and the ACT Alliance. ALWS has committed an immediate $50,000 from Australia and New Zealand.
Photo: LWF: Elekes Andor (CC-BY-SA)
Update 2: Monday 7 March
Your ALWS support for Ukraine is part of the combined action of churches worldwide through ACT Alliance.
One of the ACT Alliance partners already delivering aid is Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA). The photo shows the first aid shipment.
The planned response, with approximate cost, includes:
|FAMILY FOOD PACK||SENIORS CARE|
You can see a two minute video from the HIA aid deliveries here
You can donate here to support the ALWS commitment of $50,000 to the relief effort in Ukraine through ACT Alliance and LWF (Lutheran World Federation).
ALWS has also increased by $50,000 aid to victims of other wars (northern Ethiopia, Myanmar and Afghanistan) – people in danger of being forgotten. Donate here
URGENT: Your ALWS action for Ukraine…
Ukraine is not an area where ALWS normally works.
However, given the crisis faced by its people, we are working with partners on how best to provide support from Australia …
…and unite with the world in standing up against the madness and aggression that is hurting so many innocent people.
Our partner, Lutheran World Federation (LWF), is working with local churches in countries neighbouring Ukraine to find the best way to welcome and care for refugees.
At the same time, ALWS is part of a coalition of churches of many denominations from all around the world – ACT Alliance.
The Alliance is already having an impact through the congregations of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Rostov region of Russia. These generous Christians have welcomed 4,500 refugees with hot meals, clothes, hygiene items, baby supplies and shelter.
This ACT Alliance work aims to grow through Hungarian Interchurch Aid, working in Berehove and Lviv in west Ukraine.
The focus is on 1,500 children who need shelter, food and medicine. They are among 30,000 refugees seeking safety here.
On your behalf, ALWS has stepped out in faith
and committed $50,000 to this planned relief effort.