welcoming Ukrainians to France and sending aid to Ukraine

Since February 24, five thousand Ukrainian refugees have arrived in France. That number will rapidly grow. They are, for the most part, women and children. I’d love to be able to invite a family to my abode but, alas, I live in a very small space. Others have been generous by opening up their homes or secondary homes – to date, 5,978 people.

The Ministry of the Interior estimates that reception capacities will be around 20,000 people, “even more” in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, and in coordination with the Red Cross, the Order of Malta, Civil Protection and Catholic parishes, donations are being called for to send to Ukraine, in particular –

– Portable generators
– Headlamps + adequate batteries
– Sleeping bags (compatible with temperatures of -10/-20°C)
– Thermal socks
– Warm shoes (snow type)

EUROPEAN PROTECTION

In the European Union, Ukrainian refugees will benefit from “temporary protection” which exempts them from requesting asylum status. The protection is valid for six months and renewable up to three years. It offers Ukrainians immediate access to health care (universal health protection) and to the labor market.

As for the United Kingdom, no longer part of the European Union, their response to welcoming Ukrainians on to British soil has been lamentable. I’m actually considering renouncing my British citizenship. Fed up with their Brexit vision (narrow and shrivelled), fed up with that dreadful Conservative government – Bojo and the evil Priti Patel (herself the child of immigrants) and others, and super fed up with the overall misogyny, sexism and ineptitude within the Metropolitan Police Service of Greater London before, during and after that unspeakably horrific murder of Sarah Everard by a police officer last year, I feel that English values are not my values. To be blunt, I don’t feel particularly proud to own a British passport these days.

I’m no doubt being too harsh. My favorite newspaper is The Guardian (I read it every day), and I love London, Marks & Spencer, licorice allsorts and Marmite. Toasted crumpets, Hovis bread and Iris Murdoch novels, in fact most English literature. Citizenship is a complex thing, wrapped up in childhood memories, parents, happy holidays and other things. But I’m digressing …

For those wishing to volunteer, contribute and show solidarity with Ukraine and its people, here’s the official French government website (I’ve checked it) :

https://parrainage.refugies.info/

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