- March 9, 2022
“Vilnius Region — for Ukraine” — Campaign Lasts as Long as Help Is Needed
On the day of the St. Casimir Poles from Vilnius Region decided to unite in helping Ukrainian citizens. As part of the “Vilnius Region – for Ukraine” campaign, they met to participate in a common prayer, and the discussion and charity concert as well.
The “Vilnius Region — for Ukraine” campaign was created – as its creators underline – spontaneously, but very quickly managed to get to its recipients. It was initiated by members of different Polish organizations, and received support from The House of Polish Culture in Vilnius.
A common prayer
Help for Ukraine started from a common prayer in the intention of war victims on the day of the patron saint of Lithuania, by his tomb in Vilnius cathedral.
“Here, near our patron saint, St. Casimir, we can focus around his temporal remains. This Eucharist takes on particular importance, because Polish people from Vilnius region, Polish social organizations, pray for peace. For peace in our hearts, our families, and for a peace for those who suffer. Right now it is our brothers, Slavs, Ukrainians, who suffer the most” these were the words with which St. Ft. Mirosław Balcewicz started the mass.
Another element of Friday campaign was the meeting called “We join with Ukraine in The House of Polish Culture in Vilnius.” The discussion about the situation in Ukraine was led by Aleksander Radczenko, the journalist of Kurier Wileński. About various aspects of war ongoing in Ukraine talked: historian Ph.D. Tomasz Bożerocki, representative of medical community in Lithuania Dariusz Żybort, and executive editor of Kurier Wileński Robert Mickiewicz. Artur Żak, journalist of Kurier Galicyjski, was a special guest who remotely connected with participants of the meeting from Lviv.
Working in war conditions
Artus Żak underlined that Lviv is one of the cities which so far suffered the least as a result of the Russian aggression. Journalists of Kurier Galicyjski continue their work, but it is significantly harder to do so. “Part of journalists, especially women with children, had to leave Ukraine to get their loved ones out. Another problem is the fact that despite Kurier Galicyjski being the biggest Polish media in Ukraine, we are not adequately prepared for working in war conditions. We do not have war correspondents nor even bulletproof vests” said the journalist.
However, the newspaper intends to continue its work. The participants of meetings in THoPC were able to take with them the latest edition, which was printed already after the start of Russian invasion, and reached Vilnius thanks to the efforts of Kurier Wileński’s editorial team. A range of materials concerning war in Ukraine, including conversations with Poles who remained in risky areas, was published also in the newest magazine release of Kurier Wileński, which was gifted as a present from the editing staff to participants of campaign. On March 4, several hundred copies of the magazine were handed out in Vilnius.
Polish musicians for Ukraine
The most spectacular part of the campaign was, without a doubt, charity concert of Polish artists which was broadcasted on TVP Wilno Facebook and in Wilnoteka. A lot of performers participated in it. On the stage of THoPC showed: Katarzyna Zvonkuvienė, Black Biceps, Green and Go, Ewelina Saszenko, Folk Vibes, Gabrielė Zdanavičiūtė, Jan Maksymowicz, Kapela Wileńska, Małgorzata Minkel, Polish Song and Dance Ensemble “Ojcowizna”, Teatr Studio, The Polish Theater in Vilnius, “Sto Uśmiechów”, The Song and Dance Ensemble “Wilenka”, Zbigniew Lewicki, and Zbigniew Sinkiewicz.
The organizers emphasize that everyone invited to participation in the event very gladly committed to it. A great support was also provided by scouts from The Polish Scout Association in Lithuania, who were collecting donations in charity boxes.
Vilnius region did not disappoint
“We are very happy that residents of Vilnius region responded to our appeal with such great commitment. Until this morning, that is till March 7, we have collected a total of (including charity boxes donations and money transfers) 5 656 euro, 100 zlotys and 1 dollar. We thank you very much to all who contributed to the fundraiser. It is not over, it will continue in schools, and funds for helping Ukraine will still be collected in our account” Krystyna Zimińska informs Kurier Wileński.
As it was announced during the concert, the funds collected will be used for medical help.
“We are in touch with Sergiusz Prokopiuk, president of The Association of Doctors of Polish Origin in Volhynia. He has contact with medical facilities all over Ukraine and is very well oriented in needs of concrete regions. Thanks to his mediation we are able to buy the most needed medications and deliver them to Ukraine. We are now preparing the first transport, and I hope there will be more to come” says Dariusz Żybort, who engaged in campaign on behalf of The Polish Medical Association in Lithuania.
The organizers of “Vilnius Region — for Ukraine” encourage to further donate funds for helping war victims.
“In the first period of time doing something out of goodness of your heart is naturally most common, and later, the enthusiasm tones down a bit. That’s just how it is. However, our help will be needed for a much longer time, because many Ukrainian refugees are still coming over. We hope Vilnius region will not disappoint in the future as well” Artur Ludkowski, director of The House of Polish Culture in Vilnius, expresses his hope.
The campaign will continue, and information about the fundraiser will be updated every Monday by its organizers and published on the website of The House of Polish Culture in Vilnius.
“Vilnius Region — for Ukraine” Campaign
Financial resources can be transferred to account:
Fundacja Dobroczynności i Pomocy „Dom Kultury Polskiej w Wilnie”,
AB „SEB” bank — SWIFT: CBVILT2X
With annotation „Wileńszczyzna — Ukrainie”
Translated by Sonia Dados within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.