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Ukrainian thanks for Scottish Catholics

The President of Caritas Ukraine has thanked Scottish Catholics for their generosity following widespread support for SCIAF’s Ukraine appeal.

Scottish Catholics have so-far raised more than £1 million for Ukraine through the SCIAF appeal.

Tetiana Stawnychy, President of Caritas Ukraine, visited the offices of SCIAF, the international wing of the Scottish Bishop’s charitable work.

She said Caritas Ukraine has been working with people ‘who have lost everything’ and ‘immediately felt the embrace of Caritas.’

“People who have been through such trauma don’t just need food and shelter, they need kindness; they need a kind hand. And that’s where we come in.”

Ms Stawnychy stated that Caritas Ukraine expanded from 20 to 37 centres, but also has the reach of 448 parish hubs, in both urban and rural locations.

“In the first seven months of the confiict, we have helped around 1.8 million people, with the support of our 1,400 people on the ground,” she said.

“One woman we helped told us she was heartbroken; she had lost everything. Since finding Caritas though, she has become a case manager, dealing with individuals’ complex needs, many having fled with no documentation.

She told us simply that with every person she now helps, part of her heart heals.”

The destruction of power stations by Russia has lead to concerns of Ukrainian people freezing to death over the winter, and Caritas Ukraine is prioritising shelter and helping people to repair their homes.

She said: “I can’t begin to explain what it felt like. It was like an assault on a huge scale. We were in shock. But we are being saved by being in Caritas. I want to thank our friends in Scotland who have been so generous through SCIAF.”

SCIAF works as part of the Caritas Internationalis network, the second largest humanitarian network in the world with member organisations in more than 160 countries.

Lorraine Currie, the Head of International Programmes at SCIAF, said that Ms Stawnychy and Caritas Ukraine ‘embodied the essence of all Caritas agencies including SCIAF’.

“Caritas means charity,” she said. “It’s the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity.”

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