The Salesians first arrived in Ukrainein 1936, remaining active for about ten years, until they were forced out of the country for political reasons but returned after the colapse of the USSR.

The main work in Ukraine iseducational; animation of oratories, youth centres, schools and vocational guidance. The common objective of all these works is that of accompanying young people on their path of growth and maturity, spreading the Good News and the charism of Don Bosco in a context where there is a great need for spiritual orientation among the young.

The North-western region of Ukraine, Zhytomyr, features a curiosity – an Italian school called "Vsesvit". Built in September 1994 the school was established thanks to several Italian benefactors who, during a trip to the countries of the former USSR, responded to the appeal of a group of citizens who wanted to open a Christian school.

Recently, the school has been entrusted to the care of the "Mary Help of Christians" community of Korostyshiv, a small town about 30 km from the regional capital. The school remains true to the original principles of inclusion that have always characterized it and now the inspiration of Don Bosco's Preventive System has been added to the mix!

Those who run it intend to place another typically Salesian structure alongside the existing educational centre: an oratory. With the present facilities, it is A new Oratory for Ukraine impossible to offer afternoon activities to the children, nor any extra-curricular activities after school.

The oratory will be open to the 200 students who already attend the Salesian school, as well as any other children and young people of the district. Currently, there is very little contact with these young people in the community, so it is with great anticipation that the oratory plans are made.

"There is a need for a little bit of everything! Work in the chapel, balls, sports uniforms, tents for summer camps, dishes, games…" testify the local Salesians, eager to continue educating and evangelizing young Ukrainians. In the tradition of the oratory, this work will create the opportunity for many young people to find support in their studies, and enjoy their young lives through a variety of entertainment, sports, games and personal sharing in pure Salesian style!

Salesian Missions Australia are currently working hard to alleivate the suffering caused by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine

Republished from the Australian Salesian Bulletin - Autumn 2022
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