Ukraine – Embracing integration and accompaniment: sport for the strongest of young people

15 September 2023

(ANS – Lviv) – In these days, as a response to the signs of the times, a new and more than necessary initiative of the Salesians from the Mary Help of Christians Vice-Province of Ukraine is being launched on behalf of the country's youth.

The first training session for a football team made up of young people from different parts of Ukraine took place on the sports ground at the Don Bosco Youth Centre in Lviv. What makes the event special is that it is attended by strong young people who are highly respected and appreciated by the entire population, as soldiers return from the front lines where they have defended their homeland from Russian aggression. These are young adults who unfortunately have lost limbs in their youth, but not the desire to live, strive and reach new goals, often overcoming many new challenges that have arisen in their lives.

The Salesian proposal is not that it just be an isolated sporting event. The plan is to develop this activity by providing systematic training and formation so that in the near future there is potential involvement of the team in both national and world competitions.

Unfortunately, the war that Russia began in 2014 and which gradually escalated on a large scale in February 2022, is bringing pain and suffering to the entire Ukrainian people. Many young people, and not only the young, often present themselves voluntarily to the military districts, while others are mobilised by periodical conscription announced by the State, and go to defend their homeland. Many of them unfortunately lose their lives, a number are mutilated and disabled for the rest of their lives. The Salesians want to be close to them, to their problems through this initiative, to help them deal with a difficult period in their lives, and help them reintegrate into society.

In the near future, the Salesian Vice-Province is thinking of building and opening a multipurpose Youth Sports Centre to be able to practise various types of sports which can be attended by all young adults and youth in the city, but which will be aimed especially at young ex-military who have been injured as well as children who have suffered amputations and been disabled due to the war. The centre will be designed to be inclusive and easily accessible to all, and will provide courses and activities so that its first beneficiaries can find a place where they always feel welcomed, where they can integrate and rehabilitate.

Fortunately, the Salesians in Ukraine already have the right block of land, and with the help and support of many benefactors who are sympathetic to the injuries of war – Ukrainians and foreigners – they hope to be able to build such a Youth Sports Centre as soon as possible.


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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