Just Like Us

Ok, time to act.

First, read THIS. (Subscription may be required so if you cannot access the article, email me and I will help you.)

Then, head HERE. Have your heart and credit card handy. If you live in America, go HERE to make your donation in dollars.

The NRC, Norwegian Refugee Council, has been officially selected to help Poland take care of the estimated 2 million Ukrainians who have crossed the border – with more on the way every day.

Did you go out of order? You really need to read that first story. It will open your heart and humanity and compel you to action, which is a donation.

It took three-and-a-half hours to walk to the border. They passed by other families and lone travelers and groups of adults who also opted to go by foot. The only reason they were able to move so quickly was that with three small children and a baby, fellow refugees kept letting them ahead in line.

Dima would be allowed to cross the border because he has three or more children, which exempts him from the mandatory conscription for all men in Ukraine between 18 and 60 years old. Tanya’s husband, the father of her small baby, had to stay and fight. Migration officials checked their Ukrainian ID cards and waved them through.

“…an older Polish man named Artur who lives in Zamość, who was driving to the border and transporting refugees across Poland to various communities where family members, friends, or volunteers were waiting to take them in. Diana received a call on her Ukrainian phone number from Artur’s daughter, who spoke English and told her that her father would pick them up around 9 p.m. He picked them all up and drove eight hours straight to Gdańsk, where he deposited them at Diana’s office. They all ate breakfast together, then at 6 a.m. he turned around to drive back to the border and transport more people.”

“…on March 25, the city of Warsaw partnered with two NGOs— the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the Polish Center for International Aid Foundation (PCPM)—to organize the first refugee reception center and transit site in Warsaw that is officially managed by a partnership between the NGOs and the city government. The center sits inside a large white tent, with a cluster of auxiliary tents surrounding it.”

I visited on March 28, and the reception center was busy yet calm. When I opened the doors of the tent to enter, I was blasted by the aroma of a hot meal—potatoes, chicken, and soup, with a vegetarian option available. The city of Warsaw provided the land for the site, funded by the Norwegian group, and the Polish aid organization is in charge of day-to-day operations. They currently have funding for the next three months, but they’re hoping to extend it.

The first stop for most refugees who enter is the free SIM card booth so they can access their phones and get in touch with family in Ukraine. There was a short queue in front of the tables for the Open Dialogue Foundation, which runs a database of registered accommodations and transport abroad to countries like Germany, Sweden, and Canada. Two massage therapists were giving out free massages, and children were shyly picking at the toys in a small play area. Three little boys were excitedly kicking a mini soccer ball around the hall. A magician showed up to entertain some kids with card games.”

PCPM is also handing out cash assistance cards to refugees who have been stranded in group shelters located in converted gymnasiums and sports halls, where the living conditions are poor. Each recipient receives a cash assistance card that is refreshed every month for three months with a stipend for living, with the possibility of continuing after that three-month span if the aid continues. They are also hiring refugees to work as teachers and assistant teachers in Poland’s public schools, where about 700,000 Ukrainian-speaking children are enrolling. Wilk had just overseen the hiring of 50 Ukrainian teachers in Lublin in a single day. The next week, he was planning to manage the hiring of 300 new teachers in Warsaw.

There, but for the grace of God, right?

It could be us. It could be you, your children, your parents and grandparents.

We who can help must do so.

Right now.