Seeking Safety: Ukraine

Some journeys are undesired, unwillingly imposed.

Bishop’s Castle created a ‘Community Response’ to the refugee crisis in Ukraine.

Funding raising for 2 ‘frontline’ groups working with Ukrainian refugees
in

Poland & Romania

The first event occurred on April 9th at the SPARC Theatre

The Bethany Foundation:

Bethany Social Services Foundation supports children and young people in need by providing them with therapeutic, psychological and material support

Statement:

The Bethany Social Services Foundation, together with the Iași Community Foundation and the CIVICA Association, is reactivating the EMERGENCY FUND to support refugee families in Ukraine. Through the humanitarian campaign “Solidarity and help for refugee families in Ukraine” we want to contribute to raising the necessary funds to help children, women and the elderly who have crossed or will cross the border into Romania, seeking shelter.

There is an active Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/FundatiaBethany

(where necessary click on ‘see translation’ at base of messages)

Bethany has a direct giving web page.
Using this page ensures that money goes directly to the Foundation.


It is in local currency (‘Lei’) with a conversion charge for £ sterling, $ US dollar, & € Euros

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Poland: Śląska

WSEH

WSEH is an economics and humanities University in Bielsko-Biała, Silesia

It has created a new team within the University to develop work with Ukrainian refugees.

WSEH University in has students and staff from Ukraine

It also has strong links with a University in Sumy, a city in eastern Ukraine presently (March 2022) being heavily bombarded.

In March/April 2022 the city of Bielsko-Biała has received many refugees & is preparing to assist and accommodate many more.

‘Working outside the boundaries’

Statement:

There are formal processes for which official government and EU funding will be available. As a University we will be able to work with local & national government.

We wish to ‘go-further’ providing

  • informal care with volunteers,
  • helping to integrate families into local society,
  • working towards as much ‘normalisation’ as possible.
  • Arranging, walks, sporting events, family social gatherings with local people and
  • as much ‘fun’ as possible – and for as long as is necessary.

The University has created an internal institute to work at practical actions, supported by in-depth research & called

The Institute for Refugee Integration 

The activities being developed immediately & in relation to the initial phases of the Ukrainian crisis will form the basis of a longer-term commitment.

SPARC Theatre on 9th April 2022

The first fund Raising Event

The Dixie Dragons

Rapsquilion

The Men From Off singing a popular Ukrainian song about a love-lorn Cossack – sung in Ukrainian

The event created a flow of visitors during the afternoon – many of whom had also provided a variety of goods (especially plants & cakes) for sale.

Several comments suggested that the whole event had provided an opportunity for people to join in a community activity for the first time (due to Covid) in nearly 2 years

The evening Concert arranged by Sticky Wicket

The Freedom Band

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Background to the Fundraising Action

Partnerships & Visits

Since 1990 groups from across Europe have been hosted in Bishop’s Castle & District & local groups & individuals have shared reciprocal visits.

16 Partnership Programmes (2 yr actions)
1 Community Development programme (2 yrs)
2 Five day Workshops in Bishop’s Castle
2 Two day Workshops in Bishop’s Castle


How the links developed

1989: The collapse of the ‘Iron Curtain’ & authoritarian regimes in Central & Eastern Europe

The first links 1990 – 2003

1990
Visit to The Community College by Romanian teacher Radu Alexandrescu
The College, following a request, supplied typewriters to schools & journalists in Râmnicu Vâlcea

1991 – 1994
Links with Bishop’s Castle
– Business & Development group from Râmnicu Vâlcea
– Romania’s leading young pianist based & performing locally whilst on tour
– students from Râmnicu Vâlcea hosted by local families around Bishop’s Castle
– students study A levels at the Community College. Hosted in Hyssington
– 2 students from the Community College visit Râmnicu Vâlcea
– 1992 – 1994: Community Development workshops in Râmnicu Vâlcea and district supported by Newtown Rotarians.

1998 -2003:

1998 -2003:

Pathways ID volunteers (Sarn & Newtown) invited to Iași by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Moldavia & Bucovina

Visits to UK by groups & individuals from Iași

The first group in 1999 are leaders of a Iasi based development project developing an urban walking trail ‘The Green Line’. The project funded by UK Charity Know How Fund.

Completes with a presentation of plans to officials of Iasi County Authority

During the visit to Bishop’s Castle the group adopts the term ‘COTU‘ for the town

Centre Of The Universe’.

It becomes the name used by many of the groups that follow them.

2003 – 2021

The partnership programmes are developed involving a wide range of countries (including China 2015 – 17)

The Polish Connections

2008 – 2022

UK Partnership projects with Poland included groups from Iasi

In a Romanian monastery, a Polish visitor from Zabrze, A Brit from Wales & local Romanian host contemplate the forthcoming meal

In Zabrze Romanians, Brits, Italians & Poles debate a menu

…… and begin to dance

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