For over a week there has been a war in Ukraine which forced some to fight and others to flee. They leave their families and homes just to survive. We show solidarity with them, helping as much as we can. Accepting a refugee under your roof is an act of courage and great empathy. However, it should be remembered that this is primarily a mutual responsibility. How to help effectively?
Providing someone in need of a piece of safe space is one thing with many help forms. This is the time when all help is important and there is no better or worse. Some create collections of money, others create parcels with gifts, others pack and transport them. There are also those who use their work to help charitable. We are talking about psychologists, therapists, lawyers, drivers, doctors and translators. Paid accommodation or, in some cases, hotels provide free services. Each of us changes our priorities to help in our own way.
The problem faced by refugees arriving from the east is undeniably the lack of a safe place. Rarely, someone in need has his family with us, which is why our selfless support and warmth are so important at this point, which comes down to providing them with even temporary accommodation.
What should you remember about?
When introducing people we do not know to ourselves, we must bear in mind both their safety and ours. We must remember that these are people whose lives changed 180 degrees overnight, often irreversibly. Their only luggage may be the traumas they have experienced during those days. Overnight is one thing, but understanding and a sincere sense of security are inherent elements of help. How can you help effectively then?
Remember that awareness and setting boundaries are also important in helping. When you open your heart and your space to someone new, it is important to find a balance. This balance is based on support during the return to the pre-war reality, because this is what this difficult process of acclimatization in our country is about. Preparing a room and making a bed are not enough, however. Let's give our new tenants time to get used to the new situation or even accept it, and in the meantime let's support, motivate and maintain a dialogue.
The war will end one day, we want to believe that sooner than later people who need special help will have to create this reality anew. Find a job, a flat, get on your feet. Live on. Now is the time to pause for a moment, to experience mourning, to miss freedom, but apart from sleeping, let's also give them hope and tools to move forward, because support is not the same as relieving. At the beginning, it is natural that we will make our guests a tea or dinner, but it is important that they feel independent and efficient quickly, so tips on everyday life and life in a given place will be necessary for this. It is worth determining in advance how long the shared apartment will last. This also applies to other rules in our home.
It is important to talk
Regardless of the situation and person, communication is extremely important. In the case of contact with our needy, we cannot overdo it in any way. Let's give it space, pay attention to the words and their tone, but avoiding the topic is not a good solution. Let us remember that this is a new situation for refugees, they do not know the language, live in fear, do not know how and where to deal with official matters. Let's observe, listen and look for solutions, bearing in mind that there are many questions in their heads, to which we often know the answers and thus we can reduce their stress. Find out where your tenant will find the help they need or guide them there. Suggest a conversation with a psychologist at the very beginning. These first steps and help in taking them will influence the taking of the next ones.
Although we are the support and support for our new guest from Ukraine, he must remember that his life is in his hands. That there is time to cry and experience, but it must come time to act effectively. This situation is extremely difficult for both sides, because we have rather not hosted refugees under our roof, and they have never been refugees before. It is imperative to know how to help effectively.