An update on our support for Ukrainian refugees – Securing long-term housing for mothers & children
Kadir Tasdelen who is overseeing relief efforts in Poland on behalf of Grand Circle Foundation shares news of a new community we are supporting, thanks to your continued generosity.
“In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart” ~ Anne Frank
You can help us provide direct support to Ukrainian refugees by donating here.
May 1st – a day to celebrate the beginning of Spring and the hope and promise of renewal as the new season begins. Sadly, we recognize that many families in Ukraine are looking at a bleak future and losing hope of returning to life as it was before the war began.
Our goal is to offer hope and some peace of mind to as many families as possible – those who have remained in Ukraine, as well as those who made the difficult decision to leave their homes and flee to Poland and Romania.
Our focus is on providing what everyone needs to feel safe – especially moms traveling with young children – making sure they have healthy food to eat, a safe place to sleep, and the ability to communicate with others.
Your continued generosity has allowed us to send $1,118,869 to support people impacted by the war, and we have commitments to fund an additional $802,637 in the coming months for a total of $1,921,506.
We will continue to share weekly updates on the communities, organizations and people we are supporting, and the impact your donations are making. We hope you will continue to take the time to read the updates, and support the Ukrainian refugees.
Peace and love,
Harriet R. Lewis, Vice Chairman Alan E. Lewis, Chairman
Strzelin Community, Poland
Providing food and housing for one year for 91 women and children.
Families at their new homes – some of the 17 Strzelin community cottages
The local community of Strzelin, Poland owns 17 cottages that it rents throughout the summer to generate income. When refugees started arriving, the community opened their arms and welcomed them to stay in the cottages, but they would need to relocate in the summer, as the community needed the summer rental income to pay the mortgages. Kadir met with the mayor and negotiated a one year lease for all the cottages, for a total of $120,000. A win-win situation for everyone involved.
We are also funding supplemental food for one year for the community at a cost of $80,000. The total cost to support 91 refugees for one year is $200,000 or $2,198 per person – a little more than $6.00 per day per person to give these women and children time to get settled, find some peace, and hopefully let the kids be kids again.
Thanks to your support, these women and children now have a home for a year. We are actively looking to identify similar communities to fund so additional families can also find some peace.
Your continued support will allow us to fund additional housing for women and children. You can help by donating here.
Interior of the Strzelin cottages
One mother’s story of how she came to Strzelin, as told to Kadir
Olha Savchenko, mother of three, lived in the city of Dnieper, Ukraine, and was awoken by explosions and gunfire on the morning of February 24, 2022. She was suddenly living a nightmare with no end in sight. Less than one week later, the difficult decision was made by her husband Jerzy, who came from working at the railroad and told his wife to pack the children and leave – leave for the unknown.
The journey was very difficult. She had no friends in Poland and no idea where she was headed, but knew she could not remain in Ukraine for her children’s safety.
On March 2, Olha and the children boarded the Dnieper-Lviv train. There were a lot of people in the compartment, each with their own difficult story, tearful mothers, sad children, and life lived out of a suitcase began.
They spent the first night in a quieter Lviv; before moving on to Chełm; and then journeying to Warsaw. Olha and the children spent the night at the train station in Warsaw. From Warsaw, they traveled to Wrocław – wanting to go as far as possible, to calm down crying children and return to “normalcy” at least a little.
After arriving at the Wroclaw train station, they were sent to Bialy Kosciol which is a village in Strzelin community. Olha and her 3 children, Olha -19, Vasyl -12, and Mykhailo -6, found a warm cottage and the support of Grand Circle Foundation.
Here the family has found peace – for a mother’s heart is at ease when her children are happy and safe, and their sleep is restful, not interrupted by the hum of helicopters and the sounds of exploding bombs.
While weeping, this mom expressed her sincere words of gratitude to all Poles, because “only Poland has opened for us not only its borders, but its sincere hearts”.
Poznan, Poland: Orthodox Easter, Sunday, April 24
Father Arkadiusz organized an Easter event for 127 refugees, including 92 children, with traditional foods, dyed eggs and treats for the children.
Basic necessities – food, housing and the ability to communicate with others, and a bit of “normalcy” and happiness – together we are helping to bring these to these women and their children who have lost so much.
For the foreseeable future, our plan is to send a weekly update to keep our donors informed and to be as transparent as possible about how funds are being used. Thank you for your continued support and trust.
Thank you for your generous support of Grand Circle Foundation, and the trust you place in our team to ensure your donation is used as intended.
Because all administration costs are funded by the Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation, 100% of all donations are tax deductible and returned to our partner sites.
If you made a donation to support a specific project and would like an update on how the funds were used, please feel free to contact us at: [email protected], or call 1‑800‑859‑0852.