February 24, 2022. The military campaign begins in Ukraine, launched by Vladimir Putin. At the dawn of this year 2023, the Russian offensive is still in progress. For ten months now, the war and all the excesses it generates have been sowing chaos in Europe. The figures are overwhelming: 40,000 Ukrainian civilians killed and 6.5 million refugees as of August 17, which is 16% of the population. Among the victims of war, elders are particularly vulnerable. This is a major problem when you consider that a quarter of the Ukrainian population is aged 60 or over, i.e., ten millions elderly people.
In a country where the care of the elderly was already difficult, the war has precipitated them into extreme precariousness. Indeed, most of the elderly are unable to flee the conflict zones. There are many reasons for this. Some elderly people who are ill-informed have confessed that they do not know how to leave their city. Others are sick or too weak to move. Finally, some lonely people simply have no place to go. For the elderly who were able to leave their homes, they often find themselves living in miserable conditions. For the lucky ones, there are shelters available. For the rest, they take refuge in the subway or in cellars. A deplorable living context, in which access to food and care is sometimes very complicated.
The elderly people are therefore particularly exposed to bombing. This phenomenon is reflected in the numbers. Between February and September 2022, people over 60 years old represented 34% of the civilians killed*.
Despite the common preconception, the elderly who have been able to leave the country are also often in very complex situations. Forced to abandon their homes, they find themselves propelled into a daily life that is beyond their control. A report by the UK’s Centre for Policy on Ageing identified five major problems faced by older exiles: lack of income, language learning problems, loneliness and social isolation, and mental and physical health problems.
Faced with the urgency of the situation Les Petits Frères des Pauvres wished to provide financial and moral support to the Starenki Foundation. Founded in 2017, it struggles in daily activities to maintain its action and help Ukrainian senior. It is thanks to the courage and generosity of the volunteers that all this is possible. The Foundation provides food and hygiene packages to help isolated seniors, whose pension is low and who are unable to move.
Areas in which the Starenki Foundation acts.
The current priority of the Starenki Foundation is the distribution of “warm kit” containing of blankets, plaids, slippers, and a thermos. Petits Frères des Pauvres – France plans to support the purchase of 300 “warm kits” for people in Kiev and Dnipro. These kits are vital for the elderly, they will allow them to face the winter in case of electricity and heating failure.
If you also want to support the Starenki Foundation: Starenki – Благодійна Організація
*Amnesty International report – 6 December 2022