Crisis Bulletin: One Year in, the Life of Ukraine’s Refugees

May 15, 2023 | Article, Newsletter, Philanthropy

Crisis Bulletin: One Year in, the Life of Ukraine’s Refugees

May 15, 2023

An update from our partner, JDC.

Kateryna (right) picking up JDC’s gift of Passover matzah in April 2023

Kateryna and her family fled Kyiv in March 2022. After a brief stop in Romania, the family spent nearly two days on an exhausting journey to Poland, where they live today. They recently celebrated their second Passover in exile. “This year was so much better,” Kateryna told us, “Thanks to you, this year was filled with hope.” Kateryna is part of a community of Ukrainian refugees whom JDC continues to care for in Europe. While the rush towards the borders seen at the start of the conflict has now slowed, dozens of refugees continue to flee Ukraine each month. With your support, JDC is there to give them a hand as they plan their next steps and rebuild their lives:

In Poland, this means:

Temporary aid to newly arrived Jewish refugees

These refugees, who are often elderly or have young children, call JDC’s hotline while still in Ukraine, informing JDC of their pending arrival. JDC makes it their mission to ensure that no refugee arrives alone, arranging for them to be greeted and welcomed into this new country. Many stay only for a few days before moving on, usually to western Europe. Those looking to continue to the United States often stay longer as they wait for their visas to be processed. While they are in Poland, JDC ensures they have a safe place to sleep at a Warsaw hotel and provides them with food, trauma support, and help planning the next step in their journey. In total, JDC helps about 100 short and mid-term refugees each month.

Ongoining assistance for refugees

For refugees like Kateryna who remain in Poland more long-term, JDC works to provide additional and ongoing support. Each month, we help 200-250 older adults and families, often led by single mothers whose husbands remain in Ukraine, to adapt to life in a new country. JDC provides food vouchers, housing support, subsidies for language classes, and employment programs to help them get back on their feet.

For Kateryna, this help meant her family no longer needed to worry about hunger and cold. Thanks to your support, she was able to rent an apartment, buy food and enroll her two younger children in the Jewish kindergarten. Buoyed by the embrace of the local community, Kateryna feels she can breathe again.

Thank you for providing Ukrainian refugees with a safe haven as they navigate new shores.