We are deeply honoured and significantly moved by receiving a formal invitation from the City of Kyiv to help train and support their social workers to find suitable homes for, as well as support the new surrogate families of, an overwhelming number of orphaned children. Some estimate the total in Ukraine to be one hundred thousand.
Witnessing this war from afar, and knowing how trauma can affect children (and their future children, and so on) has been a source of deep anguish and frustration for many of us. Yes, our country (Canada) is sending military equipment and humanitarian aid, but what about the children?
Now we have an opportunity to make a difference. One of our senior faculty, Eva de Gosztonyi from Toronto, has stepped up to lead this project. She is putting together a wonderful team, including Ukrainian nationals, to create a curriculum and courses to train the social workers and ultimately support the families. Since none of our courses have been translated into Ukrainian, this becomes our first priority. We have been told that there are fifty social workers waiting to begin their training with us as soon as their circumstances allow.
We believe the Neufeld Institute has what is needed in terms of knowledge, material, and leadership. What we don’t have is the money to fund this project, as our organization operates on a shoe-string budget. We have not asked for money to run the organization itself; however, what we do need is donations to fund this project, especially regarding translation and training.
This is the second project we have taken on to provide assistance to Ukraine. The first was a project for Ukrainian mothers who had fled with their children across the border into Poland. Our Polish regional director – Joanna Bylinka – stepped up to create a program to apply emotional first-aid and to help the mothers to be the answers to their children at this time. The program was deeply meaningful, touching many lives. The donations were generous, all of which were invested directly into that program.
We now have an opportunity we can’t refuse – to make a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of children who have lost the ones who were meant to take care of them. We haven’t been able to stop the war, but hopefully we can reduce the impact of the war on the children who have been its victims. Thank you for your support.