„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“

WORKING GROUP ON REFUGEES: 7th UPDATE ABOUT SUPPORT FOR REFUGEES FROM THE WAR IN UKRAINE

20th June 2022

The 7th update (June 18th 2022) about support for refugees from the war in Ukraine by YMCA’s in Europe.

YMCA Sweden (Martin Hedberg) 

The migration authority has written down it´s prognosis of the number of Ukrainian refugees expected to arrive in Sweden in 2022 to 50,000 people, around half are expected to need help with accommodation from the state. 

In May the migration authorities signed agreements on long term accommodation for Ukrainian refugees with Swedish municipalities. 

Based on the above, refugees who have short term accommodation are being relocated to different areas based on these agreements rather than the wants from the refugees. Some of these refugees have found their place with local YMCAs where they were first located and this is very unfortunate. 

Information collected shows that parents of young refugees are very keen on finding summer activities for their children. Several local YMCAs are planning for summer activates for refugees based on their capacity, ranging from camps in the countryside to excursions in and around Stockholm. YWCA-YMCA will provide locals some financial support for this work. 

The Swedish state/regions/municipalities is still not providing any pointed financial support for work with young Ukrainian refugees to CSOs. YWCA-YMCA is perusing this in advocacy. 


YMCA Ukraine (Viktor Serbulov) 

YMCA Ukraine has procuced a powerpoint presentation about their relief efforts during 100  days of war. You can find it under this link


YMCA Czech Republic (National Office) 

 Many local YMCAs are offering a variety of their recreational activities for Ukrainian children and youth for free (also some of these activities are offered for free thanks to the support of YMCA Europe) 

  • National Czech YMCA organised a fund-raising campaign to collect money for  Ukrainian children – to unable them to join Czech YMCA summer camps. 105 children  will be supported, their costs will be covered and the sleeping bags and mats will be  bought for them etc. 
  • Local YMCAs organize special events for Ukrainian people, to help them to  adapt, to learn Czech language, to develop new skills, to get to know Czech Republic  (courses, workshops, trips etc.), to help them to get a job here 
  • Many local YMCAs organize „Groups of adaptation“, every-day 4hours long  program for 15 Ukrainian children to learn Czech language, to learn about Czech  Republic, it is a program supported by Czech ministry of education 
  • Some local YMCAs cooperate with the Food bank and help to survive many  Ukrainian families here, they also help to accomodate them, to find a new place,  rented flats etc. 
  • Some local YMCAs also hired few Ukarinian mothers for a small work to help  them to be independent 
  • We cooperate with some Ukrainian people, who already were living here and  who are now volunteers and help us to translate 

YMCA North Down (Northern Ireland; Monika Ciok-Giertuga) 

Our Ethnic Minorities Support team has been facilitating weekly drop-in advocacy clinics for  Ukrainian refugees in 2 locations in Northern Ireland. We received some funding from Ards and North Down Borough Council to provide advice and support services to Ukrainians and  their sponsors in Ards and North Down area.  

Some Ukrainians attend our ESOL classes. 

This month we are planning to pilot Welcome Cafe sessions for Ukrainian newcomers. Also, we finally succeded in matching Ukrainian refugee family with a local sponsor. The  family arrived last week and is settling in well. 


YMCA England and Wales (Claire Bennett/Anna Hallissey) 

  • To date we have transferred £151,636.00 to YMCA Europe to support their front-line  response to the crisis, with a number of local YMCAs within the federation making financial  contributions directly to YMCA Europe. 
  • Denise Hatton, National Secretary YMCA England & Wales, has joined a four nations working  group with Ireland and Scotland to work together in assisting the Homes for Ukraine scheme  in the UK.
  • Some local YMCAs are also offering support directly to a number of displaced young people  wishing to come to the UK, with one young person already living at YMCA Black Country Group and another arriving imminently. 
  • YMCA Thames Gateway are offering support alongside their local council with a new service  helping Ukrainian refugees to settle into the Borough. Further information on this service  can be found here. 

YMCA/YWCA Denmark (Morten Stig Soerensen) 

We focus entirely on helping inside Ukraine. We heavily support YMCA Lviv with finances  and fundraisers in order for them to help IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons), have a shelter  for young IDP volunteers, assist soldiers, create a children daycare center in Lviv for IDP kids  and also coordinate a emergency relief hub form which they can distribute food, clothes,  medicine and so on to remote areas that otherwise would not get any help. One of our local YMCAs here in Denmark also donated a minibus to help them with all the  logistics and transportation of people and goods. More info and images here.


YMCA Europe Mission in Poland (Adam Rychlik) 

The refugees are still coming to Poland, but this motion is not so intensive as a month ago.  YMCA Europe in Poland enters another phase of working with the immigrants.

Now the  focus is integration of newcomers (new settlers) with local communities and assistance in  gaining similar living conditions as the Polish have. Taking actions in cooperation with other  stakeholders YMCA Europe is becoming a substitute of YMCA national movement.  

For the last one-and-a-half-month YMCA Europe and their partners in Poland have  implemented the following projects:  

  • An integration city camp "Sports and Culture - Days and Nights". This pilot showed a  direction of integration. 

  • Groups of Ukrainian children attend sports activities 2-3 times a week in 4 places in  Warszawa. Their parents interact with Polish parents by the way, too.
  • The FLY foundation in Gdynia, another partner of YMCA Europe runs Polish language  courses for 105 people and help Ukrainian women getting jobs in the harbors.
  • YMCA Europe is still cooperating with YMCA Japan - 52 persons have been assisted in  migration to Japan since the beginning of war.  

The plans of YMCA Europe and its partners for the next weeks months:  

  • Two integration sport camps with learning aspects  
  •  Arrangements of IT Hub in Warszawa with a purpose of relocation people from the capital  to the countryside.  
  • Launching a project for mental health support, where the beneficiaries will be newcomers  from Ukraine and Belarus.  
  • Building and consolidating the leaders of partner organizations and businesses. They are  expected to be the active group of YMCA movement in Poland.

CVJM/YMCA Wolfsburg (Germany; Manfred Wille) 

The regular groups are going on. Last Sunday we had after two years, because of corona, our Volleyball-tournament during our activity „A symbolic wave around the world in solidarity for youngsters“.

A lot of newcomers were joining this integrative sport-event from all around  the world – even a team from the Ukraine („Ukrainian Volleys“).

We were starting with a  short sport-devotion. During the tournament the sports-men and sports-women – we say  „social-sports-women“ and „social-sports-men“ – had a lot of possibilities to talk about their  situation. And the particpant donated money for fled / escaped families from Venezuela, who are supervised by the columbian YMCA and the german YMCA. In a couple of month we  will organize this kind of „coming together“ again. Volleyball back to the YMCA!


Disclaimer: 

This information is edited by the Chair of the YMCA Europe Working Group on Refugees and  Migrants. The text is at the responsibility of the authors.

Feel free to share this update within your YMCA network. New contributions for this “newsletter” by any YMCA in Europe are welcome. Submit  before 28th. May to ed[at]ymcaeurope.com

New YMCA projects with/for refugees from Ukraine can be added to the YMCA Europe refugee projects database here.

917,818 €

Funds received up to June 23rd in response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

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