UKRAINE — As soon as war broke out in Ukraine, Joni and Friends mobilized their partners on the ground to evacuate refugees with disabilities from the worst-hit conflict zones across the country. They’ve now rescued 390 people and are providing long-term support to enable them to resettle into their new lives across Europe.
The ministry’s founder and CEO Joni Eareckson explains how they are working with their partners on the ground.
Joni Eareckson Tada – Joni and Friends CEO and Founder:
Our in country partners are of course evacuating people with disabilities in the hotspots of Eastern Ukraine and through vans they are taking them to Lusk, which is a coordination point.
And then of course Joni and Friends sponsors, we underwrite the cost of big buses with mechanical lifts to get these people safely across the border into Poland. Once they arrive in Poland they stay one night in a hotel and then we work with our partners in Europe to find them welcoming, accessible homes and then they can find out what God has in store for them next.
And one of their partners Galyna shared her thoughts during one of their evacuations.
“Right now we have 41 persons and they are from different parts of Ukraine. They are from Sumy, Kharkiv – the places where the fighting is really intense. We have people from Kyiv as well.”
Galyna – Joni and Friends Partner:
Of course it looks like we’ve helped a lot but if you think about there are more than 3 million people with disabilities who live in Ukraine and not all of them were able to get evacuated, you feel really sad. But I thank God for this opportunity to help these people to be evacuated and I want to thank everyone who supported this process.
And as Joni and Friends continues to rescue many more refugees they are also providing long-term support to help resettle these displaced people with special needs throughout Europe.
About Joni and Friends
For 40 years, Joni and Friends has provided the hope of the Gospel and practical resources to people affected by disability around the globe. Ministry programs include Wheels for the World, Family Retreats, the Christian Institute on Disability, and church ministry training. Joni and Friends also delivers inspirational media such as the Joni and Friends radio program and podcasts. To find out more, please visit www.joniandfriends.org.
- Global News Alliance, Joni and Friends Rescues Disabled Refugees in Ukraine
- Joni and Friends, Official Website