For many years Caritas Kyiv has been caring for disadvantaged elderly individuals and the disabled who require constant assistance. Despite the fact that this assistance includes social, financial, psychological and legal assistance, before the holidays Caritas gives out food baskets. This year was no different; before Easter Caritas gave out Paskas to the isolated and to children living in the streets or in crisis families.
“Thanks to your donations we were able to give out Paskas and food baskets to 150 individuals. These individuals blessed your Paskas in their Easter Baskets and laid out your gifts on their holiday tables; most importantly however, is that their hearts were filled with love and joy because of your goodness,” said Fr. Roman Syrotych, Director of the Kyiv Caritas to gathered donors.
For several decades developed countries have focused their energies on realizing human potential and improving the quality and longevity of life. In Ukraine there is inertia in society: the most disadvantaged remain that way, those able to work are increasingly unwilling to work for the benefit of their nation.
Nonetheless, things change: according to experts by 2050 every 5th person living on earth will be 60 years of age or older, the number of children and individuals able to work will shrink to half of what it is today and there will be 1.5 times more women than men. These forecasts are made by the United Nations Population Fund.
According to Valeriy Sushkevych, Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliamentary committee on the Retired, Veterans and the Disabled and President of the National Committee of Disabled Sportsmen there is another category of Ukrainians which require special attention: people who are elderly and left without family or loved ones; one of every 6 individuals over the age of 60 falls into this category.
Poverty, loneliness and poor health cause the most suffering for geriatric Ukrainians. According to the Kyiv International Sociology Institute (KISI) the health status of Ukrainian citizens drastically declines after they turn 50. If Europeans feel better about themselves as they grow older, then in Ukraine it is exactly the opposite.
According to Volodymyr Paniotto, General Director of KISI, 25% of the elderly in Ukraine are poor, half complain of poor health, and depression is widespread.
“Easter for is bitter-sweet for them. On one hand they are reminded of their fragility, loneliness and suffering during these joyous Easter Days while others go to Church and breakfast at a nicely prepared holiday table; on the other hand they really feel Christ’s resurrection personified in the kind people who visit them, so it is very important to visit the lonely and disadvantaged during this holiday period,” says Fr. Roman.