As the world watches the situation in Ukraine change almost daily, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) affirms its commitment to its current work in the country. It also offers continued support and prayers to its partners and the people of Ukraine in this time of uncertainty and turmoil.
“We remain concerned that the situation could lead to escalating conflict in the region, and we continue to hope for a peaceful resolution, where all voices are heard,” say Ruth Plett and Krystan Pawlikowski, MCC’s co-representatives for Eastern Europe.
In Crimea—which has been annexed by Russia—MCC continues to work with a long-term partner organization on multiple projects.
One project involves volunteer medical staff, including doctors and nurses, who run mobile clinics in villages or areas not currently receiving reliable healthcare. This assistance includes free medication for low-income people.
MCC is also working with this partner in Crimea on an HIV/AIDS project. Volunteers such as trained psychologists visit centres where young people await trial. The volunteers lecture on healthy lifestyle choices and HIV prevention, and offer one-on-one counselling if requested. The name of the partner is withheld to protect the organization’s privacy during this difficult time.
Outside Crimea, MCC is working with several other partner organizations in places such as Nikopol, Zaporozhye and Kirovograd. Much of the work is focused on HIV/AIDS, including education programs in schools, supporting people with HIV/AIDS in prisons, and providing residential options for released inmates.
Through its partners, MCC purchases milk or milk powder for vulnerable children and families, and supports skills training for orphans. Since last October two shipments of material resources have been distributed in Ukraine. This includes canned meat, blankets, and hygiene and school kits.
“This work with our many partners in Ukraine will continue, and we are thankful for your prayers and thoughts in these uncertain times,” say Plett and Pawlikowski.
The Mennonite presence in Crimea dates back to the 1850s, and Ukraine has been a part of MCC’s history since its formation in 1920. As a result of discussions during that first year, essential items such as food, used clothing and tractors were sent to Ukraine in 1922.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, MCC relocated its office from Moscow to Ukraine with the help and support of a partner in Zaporozhye.
MCC has not yet received requests from its partners in Ukraine for additional support during this time of upheaval, but will respond with compassion to requests for further assistance.
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