Two classes for Ukrainian children and a German course for Ukrainian adults were opened in Penkun. About 80 war refugees now live in the city and its neighborhoods. The lessons are meant to bring some normalcy and structure into everyday life, especially for children. Hardly anyone now assumes that the women and children will be able to return to their destroyed homelands in the foreseeable future.
Penkun hosted the most Ukrainians in Germany
“In terms of population, Penkun is the city with the most Ukrainians in Germany,” said Tobias Flügel, co-organizer and head of administration of the Catholic parishes of Uckermark and South Pomerania. There is an overwhelming number of people in the city who volunteer for Ukrainians. That’s why the church decided to help on the spot.
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Two Ukrainian teachers, who now live in Prenzlau, teach the children. Hans Labes, a retired biology teacher from Penkun, teaches German lessons for adults. The primary school class is taught in a hall in the church assembly hall, the regional school class in the school, and the women’s class in the church. The children complete all of their school subjects via online lessons and are supported by teachers on site. The focus is on German lessons. “You have to learn German as early as possible, it’s very important,” said Ewelina Lipinska, social worker for the “Social Work in Pastoral” project of the Archdiocese of Berlin.
Children were screened for mental health issues
First, it was checked whether the girls and boys had post-traumatic stress disorder or other psychological problems. Fortunately, this is not the case, explained Tobias Flügel. The children received learning materials through donations. In-kind donations would also be needed. Anyone wishing to donate schoolbags, pencil cases, fountain pens or the like can do so at the presbytery of the Catholic Church at Marktstraße 61 in Pasewalk.
“The Ukrainians will probably have to stay longer with us. At first they still had hope that they could go home soon, but now they have no hope,” said Evelina Lipinska. “I don’t think it will all be over in a few months. Cities are destroyed, it is very dangerous there. We advise people to stay here. Tobias Flügel agrees. “The infrastructure is broken. In a few months Ukraine will be so cold that people will freeze to death.
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Women want to learn German and find work
Hans Labes considers his German students to be highly motivated and curious. “Actually, the mood is always good. They are also happy to be in contact with each other.” In addition to language, many mothers aged 25 to 40 aim to find work.
Penkun Mayor Antje Zibell (CDU) thinks it is important to “think rationally”. It’s bad enough for Ukrainian women to hear that their husband or father has been seriously injured. It is far too dangerous for them to go to their loved ones. “They have to think of their children and stay here with them.” Many Penkuners would work to make time in Germany as pleasant as possible for Ukrainians, especially to integrate children and allow them to develop in a way that suits them. for children – in the riding club, in a sports club, with the youth fire brigade or in schoolyards.
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