While many of the headlines may have moved on, Ukranian refugees fleeing their war-torn country still need our help. Here, local volunteer SASFI HOPE-ROSS explains how you can help – and the impact on people in need…
AS Russians bombs continue to bombard Ukrainian towns and cities, entire towns and villages are razed to the ground, and more and more Ukrainians are being displaced from their homes.
Every day we read and hear of further atrocities, children being killed in their schools, old people dying in their villages, too scared to leave to find a safe place.
It is important not to become numb and switch off from this reality, to move onto the next news item and forget.
Estimates now put the number at 15 million people displaced from their homes. Seven million have fled the country.
For many, staying in their homes could mean death, and they face the constant terror of air raid sirens wailing as nearby buildings are hit by missiles.
Many of the people fleeing are single women, mothers and children. It is terrifying to think of these mothers and young children homeless and stateless.
There is a desperate need for families to find homes and safety, now more than ever.
Imagine one morning you had to leave your home or risk death. Pack up a few vital things and your children and head out, not to school or work but to the unknown, to try and find safety somewhere.
I spoke with Andre and Sue, who invited Elena into their home last year. An initial zoom meeting was set up for them to get to know each other. Once they were both happy, they started on the paperwork together, with assistance from another local Ukrainian.
Andre said: “An important thing I feel, is that you are not alone. There is a good support network locally with other hosts who have been through the process and this has been very important in helping us organise everything. There is a whole community involved. For the Ukrainian families here, a good support system has developed locally that has helped everyone connect too. A good network of hosts and guests makes everything so much easier for everyone.”
There are basics that need to be done once your guests arrive; opening a bank account, a Biometric Residence Permit, National Insurance number, assisting them to find work.
Some of the Ukrainians coming to Dorset have family or friends here, so it is wonderful to be able to help them settle near people they know.
If are interested in hosting or volunteering, contact email@example.com and we can talk through the process and answer questions. There is an extensive list of potential families we can connect you with, and we can assist you to find a good match that works for both parties.
As Andre said, you are not alone, there is a community here that can assist, guide and help.