Lighthouse Center® Luch, March 2022

On 5 March 2022, Lighthouse Center Luch, in the western part of Ukraine, welcomed its first refugees, two mothers and three children from Kyiv. Over the following days more people seeking refuge arrived from Kyiv, Kharkiv, Irpin, Boryspil, and Kramatorsk. The refugees were met at railway stations in Ternopil before they were driven 10 km to Lighthouse Center Luch. In total, 21 refugees sheltered at the Lighthouse Center.

At first it was stressful for the new arrivals, they were anxious and didn’t sleep very well. After some days they started to relax and appreciate the peaceful atmosphere at the Lighthouse Center. They helped out in the garden, pruned trees, planted young trees, and repaired pathways.

They also participated in a charitable activity organized by the Lighthouse Center to deliver vegetables, fruits, household cleaning products, and hygiene products to the local hospital. Others took part in another charitable activity to collect garbage in the nearby forest.

The Lighthouse Center brought the adult refugees to the local village council to register as temporarily displaced persons. This process also qualified them for financial assistance. The local authorities provided them with humanitarian assistance of food, clothes, shoes, medicines, hygiene products, and toys for the children. Some refugees who needed medical attention recovered quickly after the Lighthouse Center crew brought them for treatment.

The children in the refugee families were brought to the village school for resettlement registration. There they also received books and were treated to sweets. On the grounds at Lighthouse Center Luch, a classroom and play area was set up for the children.

One day Lighthouse Center Luch organized a celebratory event. The children were invited to the festive program with cake and pies baked and laid out on the dessert table. Prior to the event, the children were quiet and subdued. However, on seeing the dessert table, the children became excited and started to speak. They shared interesting stories about their hobbies and dreams and captivated everyone’s attention.

Gradually, some refugees left the Lighthouse Center after the situation in their cities improved. At their departure, they expressed gratitude and thanks for the warm welcome and tranquility at Lighthouse Center Luch.