UPDATE – January 19th 2023
The events of February 24, 2022 were a shock to everyone. The violence and brutality of the Russian aggression made the need for help urgent. However, there was also great determination, both on the part of the National Association of Cooperative Savings and Credit Unions (NACSCU) and the American donors, to provide this aid as soon as possible using channels already in existence. Therefore, first activities were carried out through the Stefczyk Foundation. Ultimately, a dedicated 'Via Stella’ Foundation was established.
1) The first wave of aid included many small items. that met many great needs: medical articles (inc. emergency rescue kits and first aid kits), stretchers, sleeping mats, flashlights, binoculars, food rations… All of this and more was bought and delivered to those in need.
2) Ambulances to evacuate the ill, injured and vulnerable from Ukraine to Polish hospitals: Five ambulances have been acquired and transferred to Ukraine to: Tarnopol, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Dnieper, Lviv. All ambulances were refitted and properly equipped before sending to Ukraine.
3) Housing support for refugees in Poland: Polish credit unions are providing families with a monthly financial support to cover the cost of renting an apartment and other costs of living.
One of the top priorities for refugee families arriving in Poland is to find permanent housing from where they can find stable work, place their children in school and remain close to Ukraine where their husbands, fathers and sons continue to resist Russian invasion.
One of the additional benefits of such help is to have an account at the credit union (SKOK).
Currently, 16 families are covered by this form of assistance.
4) Polish schools welcome Ukrainian children into classes. Yet, most of these children arrived with almost nothing to prepare them for enrollment. The Via Stella Foundation has provided one hundred and ninety one school sets for Ukrainian children residing in Poland were purchased. These sets consist of: a backpack, notebooks and a pencil case with accessories.
The goods were handed over to:
– three children based on the individual requests of their guardians,
– fifteen children based on an application from a private person hosting a group of refugees,
– sixty one children based on applications from schools,
– ninety two children based on applications from local governments and social care centers,
– twenty children based on an application from Caritas, a charity institution of the Catholic Church.
The aid went to the following towns and cities: Lublin, Tarnów, Ścinawa, Czerwionka-Leszczyny, Zielonka, Bojanów, Suchedniów and Rzędkowice.
School sets were delivered to children by credit unions:
– SKOK Stefczyka, SKOK Chmielewskiego, SKOK Centrum, SKOK Kwiatkowskiego, SKOK Unii Lubelskiej, SKOK Ziemi Rybnickiej, SKOK Śląsk.
5) At the request of two Ukrainian Credit Unions cooperating with NACSCU 7 walk-behind tractors with the function of a tiller, 1 potato planter and a cardan shaft were purchased to replace the equipment stolen or destroyed by Russian invaders. The purchase has been paid for and the equipment was handed over to Ukrainian members of the applying Credit Unions.
6) While school enrollment is critical for young minds, the children need assurance of a nutritional diet to stay alert and take advantage of the new learning opportunity. The Via Stella Foundation has committed to finance the purchase of lunches for the period of one semester for 93 children staying at the County Youth Center in Garczyn.
7) Via Stella Foundation started a cooperation with the first Ukrainian-Polish Labor Cooperative ‘Kooperatywa Razem’ in terms of financing the purchase of five mobile sales points of Ukrainian snacks (called in Polish ‘pierożki lepioszki’), which are produced and sold by this labor cooperative. This activity will ensure employment for women refugees who came to Poland as a result of Russian aggression. Ukrainian-Polish Labor Cooperative became a member of SKOK Stefczyka and established an account there to which our Foundation transfers the awarded funds.
More about “Kooperatywa Razem’ you can find at: https://www.krs.org.pl/en/11-krs-sp-283/aktualnosci/1972-spoldzielnia-pracy-kooperatywa-razem-apel-o-wsparcie-dla-pierwszej-ukrainsko-polskiej-spoldzielni
8) War affects children in a special way. That is why we want to provide them not only with the satisfaction of the most basic needs, but also partially return the carefreeness of childhood. That is why we decided to enable a teenage fencer to continue practicing sport by covering the costs of the sports license and helping in the purchase of the necessary equipment.
9) We also want children remaining in Ukraine to be able to develop their passions. That is why we financed the transport of children actors from Pavel Tabakov’s Ukrainian Musical Theatre. This theater staged a spectacle in Gdańsk called Santa ‘Claus’ Factory’.
10) Ukraine’s energy infrastructure suffered significant damage due to the barbaric attacks of the Russian invaders. In order to at least partially mitigate the effects of these destructions on Ukrainian civilians, we handed over 41 portable generators to the Ukrainian Consulate.
Programs in Development:
Via Stella Foundation is about to start a program of free specialist medical care points for women refugees in Poland. This medical assistance will be launched in January 2023.