Pathgate Students Welcome Ukrainian Refugees To Their Homes In Poland
By the estimate of the United Nations, 2.7 million Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Poland since war broke out in Ukraine. Right from the onset, Pathgate students and their friends in Poland have made many trips to the Polish-Ukrainian border with vans full of foods, medicines, blankets and other necessary aid to offer their support to the new arrivals. They were able to coordinate their collective effort with many other groups who were doing the same things. Not only did they bring vans full of supplies to the border crossing, they also offered their help to those Ukrainians who wish to continue on their journey to other cities or found local accommodation for those who wish to remain in Poland.
In the first few weeks, there were long queues of refugees waiting at the Ukrainian side of the border where they had to wait for many hours in freezing conditions before being processed for their entry into Poland. Most of them were exhausted after 2 to 3 days of travelling from other parts of Ukraine. Pathgate students and their friends managed to deliver blankets and food to the people waiting on the Ukrainian side of the border before they were able to cross into Poland.
There were numerous Reception Centres organised near the crossing points, where the new arrivals could rest, sleep and received warm food. Spontaneously not only local people recognised the humanitarian urgency and offered their assistance, but countless people, organisations and businesses from other parts of Poland and other countries were also there to volunteer with their service in these centres, with food, supplies and provide transportation for the refugees to other destinations.
Support Centres are now established in every Polish town and city where Ukrainians can receive food, clothing, medicine and other essential items daily. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian families, mostly mothers with children, are now staying in cities like Warsaw, Krakow and in nearly every town and village throughout Poland. Some of them are staying in facilities provided by local governments, foundations and businesses but many of them were invited to live in the homes of Polish families.
Likewise our Pathgate sangha in Poland have welcomed numerous Ukrainian families to their homes. Some were for a short term stay while others have decided to settle down. Their children have enrolled in the local schools and they are all learning to live, socialize and function in their new homes. A Ukrainian family of seven who are staying with Tenda and Konchog, our Pathgate students in Krakow, have since their arrival in Poland become a family of eight with the recent birth of a baby girl.