Moldova – In Chișinău, Salesians distribute aid, affection, attention

30 March 2022

(ANS - Chișinău) - The drama of the war in Ukraine is causing enormous difficulties not only in the country that has been bombed but also in the surrounding ones. Although Poland is the country that is taking on the greatest burden of welcoming refugees - a laudable burden that has been praised several times by the Pope, but which undoubtedly also has significant economic and social costs - other countries are also strongly challenged: among these is Moldova, where the Salesians present in Chișinău, in the capital, are also involved in welcoming refugees.

With a population of about 2.6 million, Moldova has welcomed about 350,000 people, of whom 100,000 have remained in the country. As specified by Nicolae Popescu, Foreign Minister of the small republic, this has meant a 4% increase in nation’s entire population.

The Salesian house in Chișinău has turned into a reception center for refugees.  Every day it hosts and helps those who are in transit to other nations, offering them a place to sleep, food, medical help, psychological and spiritual support... 

The work, started in 2005 and erected in 2007, belongs to the Province of North-Eastern Italy (INE), which supports it by sending a group of volunteers every week from Italy to help in the reception activities. To date, four groups of young volunteers have already left.

“We’ve managed to help a little bit here as it’s not easy to house people escaping from Ukraine, and we have seen not only Ukrainians but people of many nationalities,” shares Fr Corneliu Gabor, a Romanian Salesian, normally stationed in Verona. “Thanks to this oratory, to many Moldovan citizens, also, many people arrived with frightened faces, and here they’ve found some serenity or at least a smile. And I was also struck by the fact that many of the refugees themselves began to collaborate, to serve others as well.”

In addition to offering emergency aid, the Salesian house makes its charism and its own resources available to the refugees. And the effect can be seen when, for example, the children and young people who have just arrived, even before going to the refreshment points dedicated to them, run to play in the courtyards with their peers, to recover a little normality, a little of their right to be children and not to be catapulted into the war wanted by adults.

The solidarity commitment of the Salesians of Chișinău did not leave the local media indifferent, and in fact, several videos were aired on national television news programs as a testimony to the hospitality of the Sons of Don Bosco. And on Monday, March 28, the Italian ambassador to Moldova, Lorenzo Tomassoni, and the Italian Vice-Minister for Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility, Teresa Bellanova, also visited the Salesian home.

“I want to thank the friends and the great organization that I found here at the Don Bosco Center: a human, sincere, open, selfless welcome with lots of love for others. In these moments of anguish, they made me hope again!” is the testimony of a refugee who escaped from Odessa and is headed for Italy.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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