70 years ago, 8000 km away from ASW, a war started on the Korean Peninsula. The fight between socialist and democratic ideologies resulted in suffering throughout the whole country. I would always listen to my grandfather talk about all the things he saw when he was a young boy during the war: the loss of homeland and families splitting; hunger and disease prevailed on the peninsula for 3 years. My grandfather talks about how the war traumatized him when he was young and taught him to prioritize family over anything else.
A similar event happened a few months ago. Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. No matter which government was in aggression, both sides had tremendous suffering; we are watching with our own eyes how terrible war is. Tanks, jets, and missiles are all soaring through Ukraine where people’s ordinary lives are endangered and threatened every minute. People have to leave their jobs, homes, and schools to preserve their lives. I remember seeing a tired woman and her happy kids in the central station, and I felt so miserable how a child and their mother had to go through this crisis while their dad or husband was fighting on the front lines.
My grandfather’s tales of the war reflected the situation at Lipowa ASW4Ukraine center. The first day I helped out in the center, I was the only student helping out alongside Dr. Taylor and Mr. and Mrs. Miele. With the increasing number of refugees every day and a shortage of supplies, I was not able to give out a single bottle of cooking oil and sugar to the people in line since the center was just so short on supplies. This is the moment where we as a community need to really help out the refugees–when the attention starts to fade away from the war–not just talking about the issue verbally or through social media but physically seeking small things that could help the Ukrainian refugees in our community.
A baby born in the bomb shelter has no diapers to change into; people can’t wash themselves due to lack of shampoo and soap; people can’t warm themselves since we were short on blankets; people can’t cook due to the lack of milk, sugar, and oil. The most basic things we use in our daily lives are things that the Ukrainian refugees in our community struggle to get their hands on.
This is the moment we have to ‘act together for a better world; we have to work together as one. Rather than focusing on our individual lives, take a moment to look around the community you are in. I hope that our ASW community embraces the passion to help others in our community. As the old idiom says ‘Well begun is half done.’ We need to be a community that initiates action right now: through physical helping hands, donating money for a family, donating supplies to the refugee center, and in general spreading awareness about the issue so other people know more about the opportunities to help out the Ukrainian refugee community around us.
If you are the person that looks for others in our community and want to help the center for a better cause please contact Mrs. Ligita (email@example.com)