The Refugee Situation in Uzhhorod
Over 7 million refugees have left Ukraine but many remain in railhead towns as they prefer not to leave their country but remain close to the border in case of further conflict.
Uzhhorod in Transcarpathia is right on the Slovak border. At the peak, its 100,000 population was swelled by 250,000 refugees.
There are still around 100,000 refugees in the town, mostly women with young children. Without help, many will be tempted to travel on, despite the risk of crossing the border to a very uncertain future.
Many of the women carried babes in arms, so had little capacity to carry food or spare clothes.
The local charity response
Cyla Uzhhoroda (The Power of Uzhhorod) is a local charity that started at the railway station; welcoming refugees, providing food, accommodation, replacement papers, psychological and medical help. For mums with babies, a centre was established by the station to give respite.
Find Сила Ужгорода on Facebook and see self-help working on the ground. This is a people trying everything to help themselves.
The refugees need regular supplies of food and essentials such as loo paper, shampoo and STs. A pack that will, with small additional food supplements keep a mother and her family going for a month, costs only €30.
Сила Ужгорода is buying this aid locally. Food manufacturing and distribution still works well and there is lots of it, but it must be paid for. Buying locally also keeps local industries alive.
The aid is bought, packed into bags, and distributed entirely by volunteers.
To assist transparency, aid is given to registered refugees who have applied in advance. Passport and refugee status materials are kept together with photographic evidence of each recipient receiving 16.5kg of aid per month.
John Marshall and David Burnett visited in early April and saw how essential the aid was. David visited again recently to satisfy himself that the financial aid converts to physical aid that is distributed with fastidious record keeping.
How you can help the local charity
Further aid is desperately needed. Please give generously in the knowledge that, after tax credit, 125% of your gift is spent on aid at local wholesale prices and distributed to the needy. Cyla Uzhhoroda is taking nothing for their overheads.
So, a £20 donation will get a €30 pack of aid for a family for a month. £1,000 will keep four families supported and fed for three months.
Cyla Uzhhoroda can directly and promptly receive donations made to Child Aid for Eastern Europe (CAEE). CAEE make no charges for this service so that absolutely every penny you give is spent on food at local wholesale prices and distributed for free. Donations should be made to CAEE by transfer to:
Sort Code 40-15-05 Account 41714643
Account name is Childaidtoeasterneurope (with no spaces).
Reference: Uzhhorod. (essential to make sure your donation gets to Ukraine.)
For those who want to make a contribution that will change many, many lives forever, there is a desperate need to open an additional Mother and Child unit. £200,000 will secure and refurbish a large house and garden with space that will continue to help many families in need in Uzhorod forever. If you want to see the love that already binds the existing unit, see the below picture snapped when little Darina snuck up unawares on Marina, a volunteer who runs the unit. Darina has just had a major operation on her legs and LOVES Marina who in turn loves her so much she hopes her own children don’t find out. Name it after a loved one… or Marina and Darina.