Salesians are doing all they can to ensure that the young people who have been robbed their homes are not robbed their childhoods

Whether in the eastern or western regions, in the heart of the country, or on the front lines, after more than 100 days of the war, in Ukraine, one never knows when the air raid sirens will wail their screams of fear in the ears and hearts of the inhabitants.

Although perhaps, in the quieter settings, such as in Lviv, in these days of near-summer, the mild temperatures and good weather urge people to go out into the elegant streets and beautiful parks: it is the will to live that prevails over the fear of death, and that prompts people to indulge in some distraction and beauty through the songs and dances of street performers.

In Lviv's beautiful cathedral, people still enter to pray and invoke succor from God, and on Sundays, celebrations are heard in multiple languages.

But there are problems, and many, too: in the center of Ukraine there is even a shortage of gas, so much so that the Salesians involved in the collection and distribution of humanitarian aid are forced to bring it from Poland; in addition, to get from one city to another one must pass through makeshift crossings, because bridges have often been blown up or bombed; and everywhere one can encounter bombed, burned or damaged houses, with more or less obvious signs of the fighting that has passed through the adjacent streets.

"But no matter how hard they were hit or destroyed: people are slowly coming back and rebuilding them. And they will come back again and rebuild again," says Fr. Roman Tsyganiuk with determination after yet another solidarity trip that took him from western Ukraine to Vorzel in central Ukraine to distribute aid to the needy.

Salesian Missionshas been empowered by the generosity of donors to offer significant aid and support.

The needy situation of the Ukrainian people providentially met with the sincere and fruitful solidarity of many people in all parts of the world. The "Don Bosco Network," the network of Salesian organizations and entities committed to the development, at the initiative of its Coordinator, Fonny Grootjans, has collected data on how many refugees are received by the closest Salesian institutions in Ukraine 100 days after the outbreak of war.

According to this data, in Moldova, at the center of Chisinau and the presence of Creotaia, 39 refugees escaped from Ukraine are currently being hosted; in Poland, thanks to the direct efforts of the four Salesian Provinces, there are 549 refugees (147 in the works of the Wrocław Province, 134 in the Piła Province, 157 in the Warsaw Province, and 111 in the Krakow Province).

45, the number of minors from the Lviv foster home taken in by the Salesian homes in Slovakia; but to these must be added the approximately 200 refugees whom the Salesians have entrusted to various families with whom they collaborate, not forgetting the 500 who have been housed in a shelter of the Salesian Cooperators and the more than 2,500 refugees taken in for short periods at the beginning of the war.

Central activities, that of first reception and emergency aid, but not the only ones on the Salesian side: indeed, as the war persists, the Sons of Don Bosco offer and highlight activities in favor of the social integration of refugees. As they do, for example, in Poland, in the Wrocław Province, where in Lublin, Polish language courses are offered to adult Ukrainian refugees, and in Tarnowskie Góry, refugee minors are given pottery courses.

With thanks to ANS