Ukraine: LWF provides cash assistance for refugees in Poland
Enrolment centers in six locations to reach at least 60.000 vulnerable families
(LWI) - In response to the needs of growing numbers of refugees fleeing from the war in Ukraine, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is working closely with its member church, the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland (ECACP), to implement a cash assistance project in six locations across that country.
As of 27 April, figures from the United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) show that over 5.2 million people have fled from the conflict in Ukraine, with almost 3 million of them crossing the border into neighboring Poland. The multipurpose cash assistance project will provide support to some of the most vulnerable refugees for the next three months. It will be rolled out through LWF centers in six locations: the port city of Gdansk and the town of Ostroda in the north, Wroclaw in the west, Bytom Miechowice and Bielsko Biala in the south and Zgierz in central Poland.
Individuals and families will be able to enroll at one of the centers, enabling them to withdraw cash at banks throughout the country. The centers will also provide services including counselling for children experiencing post-traumatic stress and referral services for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
Flexibility and integration
Cash distribution offers a flexible form of support for the refugees, enabling them to prioritize and provide for their most urgent requirements. It also seeks to restore a sense of normality and integration with the local host community, as refugees interact as equals in the marketplace, rather than having to rely on handouts that may not meet their specific needs. Cash assistance also brings benefits to the Polish economy and avoids the need for trucks and warehouses that are required for more traditional forms of humanitarian assistance.
The project is supported mainly by the UNHCR, with assistance from other LWF partners including Act Church of Sweden, Diakonie Austria, Corus International, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Kerk in Actie. It aims to reach at least 60.000 of the most vulnerable families, providing monthly withdrawals of Polish Zloty 710 (€150) for the head of each household and Polish Zloty 610 (€130) for each member.
We are extremely grateful for the openness and generosity of the global Lutheran communion.
ECACP’s Presiding Bishop Jerzy Samiec said: “Refugees who have been forced to flee from the war in Ukraine are in very difficult physical, emotional, material and psychological conditions. When we accept them in Poland, we should provide assistance in all these spheres. In our homes, we show them our understanding, support and love. But we are also aware that they need finances to live, which is why this multipurpose cash assistance project is so important and timely.”
Bishop Samiec added: “Since the start of the war, ECACP has done all it possibly can with the resources it had to assist refugees from Ukraine. We are really happy that the LWF is supporting us and providing assistance, not just in Poland, but also within Ukraine. We are extremely grateful for the openness and generosity of the global Lutheran communion.”
The project is part of the wider LWF response to the Ukraine crisis, which includes support to the churches on the frontlines of welcoming the refugees in Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary, as well as providing aid to those internally displaced inside Ukraine. In particular, church leaders note the urgent needs of people who have remained in eastern and southern Ukraine, where heavy fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russian forces continues to claim lives and destroy infrastructure.
LWF is coordinating a response through its member churches in Ukraine and the neighboring countries to ensure support to refugees fleeing Ukraine as well as their safe and dignified arrival. The work is supported by LWF's funding partners, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.