Guissonathe small Ukraine of Catalonia, already welcomes 105 refugees, of which 64 are adults and 41 are minors. All of them are housed in the homes of relatives and friends or neighbors who, severallyThey have offered their homes. And the number is going to increase. Between 60 and 70 more are expected to arrive this weekend on a flight from Warsaw. Many Ukrainians come to this Lleida municipality because they have family or acquaintances and others because they know that there is a strong community of Ukrainians and they will be welcome. In fact, walking through the town it is common to hear people speaking in Ukrainian.
The mayor of the municipality, james ars, calculates that next week there will be in this town of 7,000 inhabitants, between 170 and 175 refugees. He warns much to his regret that the top will be in the 200. From there, they will be referred to Lleida and other nearby municipalities. Until that maximum figure arrives, the consistory has prepared, apart from the homes offered by individuals, three facilities: an inn with capacity for 30 people and two parish houses with capacity for 10 and 15 people respectively. “We are worried that the Ukrainian community, which is very active and involved, invites a lot of people to come and that we will not be able to give them an outlet,” confesses Ars.
One of the concerns of the town hall these days are the children. With the idea that they entertain themselves and share activities with each other, the consistory has designed a activity plan. In the mornings, concentrated in the library and in the Santa Creu art space. There, the children can be together, talk, play and forget a little about the situation. Their mothers can be with them.
And in the afternoons, activities such as soccer, paddle tennis, dance, music or chess have been scheduled. It has been the entities of the municipality that have offered them at a cost of 0. Four afternoons a week, in addition, there will be Ukrainian language classes. In these classes, it will be used to carry out a work of Psychological Support whoever needs it, in coordination with the Primary Care Center. “It is that they are not at home all day and that they can escape a bit of what’s going on,” explains Ars.
City Hall and Department of Education They have also agreed on the schooling process for all these children. there will be a fast enrollment and ratios will be expanded where necessary. Children will be assigned a place in those centers where they have family and friends so that it is easier for them to integrate. The process of adaptation to the school will be progressive, at the pace decided by the families and the management of the center. “There will be flexibility because we want everyone to be calm, that there is no kind of anguish,” says the mayor.
The value of diversity
The Ukrainian community is dedicated to helping to theirs. The collection of humanitarian material is at a dizzying pace and there are already several trucks and vans that have set out on their way to Ukraine. The Catalan neighbors or those of other nationalities have also turned up. In Guissona they coexist 43 nationalities. “If anyone thought that diversity It was a problem, in times of difficulty it is seen that it is the opposite. We are discovering the value of diversity. All the neighbors have reached out, all offer help. Solidarity is breathed everywhere,” says the mayor.
The municipality is so committed to helping and welcoming that Ars confesses that the daily operation of the town hall has practically come to a standstill. Ukraine is now the priority.