Below are excerpts of an interview with our dear Grażyna Piotrowska, WBC Cares Poland Chapter and Mr. Rafał Sonik with Ukrainian refugees, sent to us by Chisa Yamane, the Chair of WBC Cares Japan who has been working with them since the invasion of Ukraine began.
Grazyna has been supporting the refugees with the organization of “HELP FOR UKRAINE”
They opened a shelter 30 hours after Russia attacked on Feb.24th.
The founder Mr. Rafał Sonik has created Whatsapp groups with entrepreneurs in Poland.
Mr. Rafał Sonik, World Champion of Dakar Rally (9 times World Champion), after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, established an orphanage to contribute to society. Currently, 35 facilities are taking care of about 4000 orphans. with 300 employees.
He started accepting refugees from the time of the Crimean Peninsula incident in 2014.
Realizing the gravity of the situation, he immediately started accepting refugees. He started talking to the Polish government.
First, they prepared a nearby unused shopping mall as an evacuation center.
He then contacted Polish business people and entrepreneurs and started procuring necessary supplies (beds, food, etc.). Since then, he has received support from about 20,000 people to date.
The number of refugees to Poland is increasing every day, and at this stage it is more than 2.3 million.
They currently have about 400 shelters. It is said that more than 600 locations will be needed.
Refugees come with only the clothes they stand up in, so the average amount of money they have is $ 100 for one family (4-5 people).
In Ukraine, the function of banks has stopped, so people cannot withdraw cash, or even credit cards cannot be used.
At first, they realized the need for underwear. He asked for underwear at a shopping mall nearby, but it was difficult get for free right then, so they bought all there was in the nearby shopping center at cost.
So far, they have already spent $ 40 million (about 4.8 billion yen).
The amount collected by donation has been € 12 million (translation 1.6 billion yen).
Refugees are women + children + elderly people.
At first, most of them were healthy refugees, but as the days goes by, more and more people are injured, some have severe mental trauma.
In addition, the medical system in Ukraine seems to be pay by cash, and many people in their 40’s and older have a chronic illness but have not received appropriate treatment.
This is what’s needed:
To pay for below:
Currently, they have 450 volunteers (150 people in 3 shifts), now in need of
about 10 leaders to direct these people.
Volunteer personnel are also required.
Ukrainian and Polish are different, so an interpreter is also required.
In need of psychiatrist.
Financially tough to hold out for a long time.
Currently, the government pays € 10 a day per person, but this is not enough.
Even after the war is over, Ukraine’s infrastructure has been destroyed, so it is unclear if it won`t be possible to return soon.
Regarding employment, first of all, the refugees are women and elderly people.
Also, the language problems.
But according to our dear family, Ms. Grazyna: “We have already started employment with this network.” “Poland has a relatively low unemployment rate”, she says.“Qualified people are easy to hire, but if the qualification (lawyer, etc.) is a Ukrainian school graduate, there is no way to prove it at this stage.”
One of the stresses of refugees is privacy, they are in need of a room even it is small.
Let’s all think of what we can do…
WBC is the Worldwide organization and that is the reason I have been connected with Ms. Grazyna.
“ LOVE WITHOUT BORDERS!”