“It is impossible to remain indifferent to the pictures from Ukraine. Pictures of a civilian population, people like me and you, fleeing their homes, families splitting up, frightened children, crowds flocking to the border crossing in order to stay alive……. but the simple and human concern for suffering of human beings is one we must all share.”

(Anita Friedman, Chairperson, World WIZO)

Those images that we thought, belonged to the past, are scrolling down before our eyes, right here on our doorstep. We are heartbroken – and powerless. 

As WIZO women we decided to do what we do best: mobilize to help the refugees, support them, find solutions for them, welcome them with our hearts and care.

All the WIZOs in Europe are mobilized to help Ukrainian families on their road to exile.

In Germany, one of the first destinations for the links between the large Russian community and Ukrainian families (there are no WIZOs in Poland or Romania), but also in Austria, Holland, Denmark, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and France. Accommodation, SIM cards, clothes, medicine, medical aid, schooling for the children, translators, sponsorship of families… we try to provide the best possible support for these families who have left everything behind and do not really know when they will be able to return home, or how they will find it there.  

WIZO Israel preparing to welcome Ukrainian children

WIZO Israel, with the support of the 50 WIZO Federations around the world, is preparing to welcome a large number of young Ukrainians in our three youth villages: WIZO Nachlat Yehuda, WIZO Nahalal and WIZO Hadassim. Youth villages are all together school campuses, sports facilities, boarding schools and places of life, which are attended by Israeli children as well as Diaspora kids who come to Israel alone under the Naaleh program, to study in Israel.

Ukrainians children in trauma in WIZO Israel youth villages

Among them, 68 Ukrainian teens. They are undergoing a profound, real-time, agonizing trauma. Being here, so far away from their parents and loved ones and city and country, that is going through an unimaginable nightmare of war. These children are basically staying in their rooms, not studying, and barely eating. Remember – while these teenagers were brave and independent enough to come from their home countries, leave their families behind, to live and study in Israel – they are, after all children, mostly aged 15-18. Let’s just think about our own kids, and try to imagine what it must be like for them. 

There are also 74 Russian teenagers and young people from Belarus, Moldova, the Baltic States or the Central Asian republics, who also suffer a difficult time. 

WIZO educational teams, to whom the kids are closely connected, do everything to embrace them and provide them with all possible emotional, psychological and social support, but this is a very, very difficult situation.

WIZO’s second hand stores in solidarity with Ukrainian refugees

WIZO’s bigudit (second hand shop) network, the largest of its kind in Israel with 46 stores nationwide, from Eilat in the south to Kiryat Shmona in the north, is mobilizing to assist Ukrainian refugees (Jewish and non-Jewish) arriving to the country. Many of them having fled their homes with nothing more than the clothes on their back. In their hour of need WIZO, as always, has stepped up to do what matters. Each family member is entitled to select 10 items from one of WIZO’s second hand shops of their choice. The goods will be given to them free of charge. This initiative will continue until the beginning of July.