The Brothers of St. John of God in Ukraine

The grim plight of the Ukrainian people no longer hits the headlines very often today. I would therefore like to briefly describe the conditions under which we have to live and work.

 The town of Drohobycz, where we are working, is in the westernmost partof Ukraine. Even though the war is being fought in the eastern part of thecountry, we are directly caught up in it, too.  Most of the soldiers being killed in this war come from Western Ukraine - our neighbours,? fathers, sonsand brothers. One thing we can say is that we are in the safer part of the country and we are hoping and praying that the war does not reach the area in which the Community and the Saint John of God Centre are located. Despite the fact that an armistice has been signed, the war goes on and on, and people are still dying, military and civilians alike. Sadly, no end to this conflict is anywhere in sight. It has been raging for two years already, and we can see itescalating all the time.

 In Drohobycz there are 3 Brothers of Saint John of God, working with 5Co-workers. We run a social welfare centre, offering help to all needy people,regardless of their origins, nationality or religion. We are mainly concerned with providing them with medical and social care and welfare assistance. We try to help everyone who comes to our Centre. We also provide home care. We distribute medicines, food, clothes, and small medical devices and hygiene products, all free of charge. Every day, several dozen people come to ou rCommunity. Over the past few years we have helped about 550 people on a continuous basis. Most recently, we have been forced to limit our help to the most needy of all -- sick children, people with disabilities, large families (with more than 3 children), the homeless and refugees from eastern Ukraine.

 We also get visits from people from out of town, seeking assistance. A care centre belonging to the Drohobycz  town Council sends people to us because the municipal authorities are unable to help them. We buy most of the products we give away from suppliers in Ukraine. This supports the local economy: helps to keep people employed and to earn a wage. Every month we give away about 2.5 tonnes of food, and distribute Pampers, ostomy pouches and pharmaceutical products which we buy from Ukrainian pharmacies, because it is impossible to import them across the Ukrainian border. Most of the funding for this comes from the Provincial Government of the Polish Province and benefactors.

 Today, a pensioner in Ukraine receives about 40 euro a month (1200Hrywnja): 1 Euro = about 30 Hrywnja. A bread roll costs about 10 euro cents (3 Hrywnja). And prices are continuing to rise all the time because of the exchange rate against the dollar. Drohobycz has a population of about 70,000people, of whom at least 3% live in dire poverty. They simply cannot afford to buy medicines or food and cannot pay their electricity, gas and water bills.

 We also help war-wounded Ukrainian soldiers, particularly by providing medicines. We have been officially thanked for this by the Defence Ministry. Thesoldiers are treated in the military hospital at Leopoli. By the side of this hospital is the ancient hospital and convent of the Brothers of St John of God where the wounded and veterans used to be cared for in the 17thcentury. The building still exists today.

 The Brothers of Saint John of God and their Co-workers in Ukraine aredoing their utmost to meet the local people?s current needs, but unfortunately the situation is truly tragic. A great deal more could certainly be said.

 My fellow Brothers and I thank you all for your prayers, and beg you all to continue praying for us.

 These are our banking details for anyone who might kindly wish tosupport our work here:

 Prowincja Polska Zakonu Szpitalnego ?w. Jana Bo?ego p.w. ZwiastowaniaNMP;

ul. Bonifraterska 12, 00-213 Warszawa

Bank Pekao SA

EUR: 30 1240 4650 1978 0010 6027 6370

Purpose: Ukraine 



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St John of God Brothers
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