A letter from our Director of International Programmes and Partnerships highlighting our work in Ukraine has been published in The Jewish Chronicle today, 16th December 2016.
Stacey Swimer writes: Sam Sokol is right to highlight the struggles faced by thousands of Jews in Ukraine (JC, December 9).
Half of World Jewish Relief’s programming budget will be spent in Ukraine next year to support vulnerable Jewish communities there.
Fortunately, the lack of interest in the Former Soviet Union which Mr Sokol cites is not a situation I recognise here.
Our supporters care deeply about this issue, in no small part thanks to vital coverage in this newspaper, and we must ensure it remains on the communal agenda.
But we are often asked why Jews continue to live there, many suffering abject poverty.
The full answer is complex but in short, they don’t want to move: Ukraine is their home and has been for many decades. Additionally, old age, poor health and a language barrier impedes moving abroad.
While World Jewish Relief aims to support 50,000 older people by 2020, it is vital that the next generation is able to break the cycle of poverty. Our work programmes do just that – helping Jews who have fallen on hard times to earn a sustainable income. The task is large, but with the Jewish community’s support, it is achievable.