Since the war in Ukraine began, World in Need has worked with former WIN CEO David Shamiri to help refugees arriving in Poland. My recent visit to Poland was an opportunity for me to meet David and to hear how our efforts have helped those in such desperate need.
David and I got on very well, and since he has been perfectly placed to direct the use of the resources we have sent to Poland, he could talk me through the work that has been done there. WIN supporters have raised over £10,000 to help the Ukrainian refugees, and also supplied three van loads of essential provisions.
I met with the local man in Poznan whose day job is as a pharmacist, but who drives his van right up to the front line of the fighting in the war, in order to deliver van loads of supplies to the civilians most in need. He has to wear bulletproof clothing, and at times literally dodge the bullets, but he continues to go once a month. We are incredibly grateful that this brave man has taken the WIN supplies with him.
One organisation that we worked with in Poland is Bread of Life Foundation. I had the privilege of seeing the wonderful work that they do in providing temporary homes for six months for Ukrainian refugee families. These small purpose-built homes give the refugees a place to stay and offer some stability while they get jobs, bank accounts and find a more permanent place to live. Bread of Life President Reinier van den Berg, met with me and showed me the fantastic work they are doing, giving me the opportunity to visit some of the families in their new homes.
Finally, David took me to meet a 30-year old woman who was formerly a lawyer in Ukraine, but who had to flee the country with her son after her husband was killed and their home was destroyed. They escaped with nothing more than a single carrier bag of items. She now has nothing, but the local church in Poznan reached out to her to support and befriend her.
In addition to all this sadness, her seven-year old son, who has a learning disability, has a serious problem with all his teeth due to a healthcare error. He now lives with such pain that he is currently only able to eat liquidised food and requires treatment on all his teeth. WIN, together with the local church, has helped her with the cost of this expensive dental treatment, and we were able to purchase a winter coat for her son. She was extremely thankful that an organisation would care enough for her and her son at a time when she felt so broken and alone.
This lady’s story reflects the extreme poverty and hardship that the refugees have had to endure since their homeland has been laid to waste. It was heart-wrenching to hear her story and to see her gratitude of such a small act of kindness. Thank you to all our supporters, for all that you have enabled us to do in this dire situation.