As well as working towards our mission to end homelessness, Emmaus also aims to support others who are experiencing adversity. Following in the footsteps of Emmaus founder, Abbé Pierre, Emmaus seeks to serve those who are most in need.
Two examples of such acts of solidarity can be found in the actions of Emmaus supporters and companions.
Thanks to the generosity of Emmaus supporters here in the UK and across Europe, a new community building at Emmaus Oselya has now opened in Lviv, Ukraine. It will provide vital support to those who are homeless or internally displaced in this war-torn country.
When war in Ukraine broke out, the Emmaus movement launched its Ukraine Fund to help those caught up in the conflict. Supporters of Emmaus UK contributed towards the fund which helped to construct a new community building in just five months.
A quarter of the Ukrainian population has left their homes, many heading west to towns such as Lviv. Emmaus Oselya is welcoming homeless and internally displaced people, offering services such as showers, medical and social advice, hairdressing, and laundry, as well as a small cafeteria and a shop providing free clothing. Ten beds are also available for people to spend a few nights to rest en-route to their destination.
Natalia Sanotska, sister of Olesya Sanotska, the original founder of the Ukrainian community said:
“I want to thank all Emmaus groups in Europe who contributed to the Ukraine Fund. Emmaus Oselya has been helping people in need for more than 14 years in a small support centre, but to build a house in the middle of the war is something extraordinary.
A team of volunteers from Emmaus Hertfordshire joined forces with Herts for Refugees (HFR) to salvage tents and sleeping bags to help refugees, after the Isle of Wight Festival in June.
Four companions and two members of staff from the Hertfordshire community helped to collect 260 tents and 150 sleeping bags that had been left behind after the weekend’s festivities. HFR will repurpose these to provide refugees in Calais with vital shelter and warmth.
Gemma Beckett, Business Development Manager at Emmaus Hertfordshire, said: “We spent a few days with Herts for Refugees as part of an ongoing partnership, brought together by our shared belief that everyone, no matter their background, deserves somewhere safe to call home.”
Angus Clark, Chief Executive Officer of HFR, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to have the team from Emmaus Hertfordshire along to our salvage event at the Isle of Wight Festival – the guys were total stars.
“HFR supports refugees in France and delivers aid to Greece, Lebanon, Syria or wherever the need arises, as it did so suddenly in Ukraine last year. A huge thank you to Emmaus and all our volunteers, we couldn’t do it without you!”
As well as helping people in need, the salvage work prevents tonnes of waste going to landfill, an ethos close to the heart of Emmaus. Second-hand furniture and household items that are donated by our supporters are repurposed and upcycled, then sold in Emmaus charity shops.
Solidarity is a core part of the Emmaus ethos, with small acts of kindness collectively making a world of difference.
Taking part in solidarity can be valuable for companions as it is often key to helping to rebuild self-esteem. Giving back to others can prove that everyone has the capacity to make a difference to the lives of others. It helps companions rebuild feelings of self-worth as they recognise that they have something to offer. Helping others can help companions feel rewarded, fulfilled, and empowered.
Find out more about solidarity across Emmaus.