From Ukraine by Bus to Portugal

Lions send help to women and children fleeing Russian invasion

Just weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, the Braga Lions in Portugal knew they could not remain indifferent to daily reports of devastation and human suffering.

Lions Load Bus
Lions sent a bus with food and water, clothes, and medicines to Ukraine and brought back to safety 44 women and children.

Planning quickly and meticulously, in three weeks’ time they sent a bus equipped with food and water, clothes, and medicines, 4,000 km (2,485 miles) to Ukraine. Forty-four women and children with their few personal items as well as their beloved pets boarded the bus headed back to Braga where they were welcomed into safe homes and given food, clothing, and much needed friendship.

At the same time, the Braga Lions sent a truckload of essential items to Poland to assist the people still in Ukraine.

“Never has this motto – We Serve – made more sense,” says PDG Paulo Rodrigues in Braga.

Lions worked with the support of the Braga City Hall, a local transportation company, and a water treatment company. “Nothing was left to chance,” says Rodrigues of the bus trip. Only those with knowledge and skills that could help their guests, including a medical doctor and people trained in psychology, were allowed to accompany the Ukrainians on the trip.

Lions Clubs Interantional bus
Only those with skills to help the refugees were allowed to make the trip, including doctors and therapists.

Meanwhile, in Krasnik, Poland, the Warszawa Arka Lions received the truckful of medicine and clothing from Braga at a warehouse donated by a man from Canada. There along the border, Lions collected goods from multiple countries (Portugal, Lithuania, France, Canada, Denmark, Poland), and with the help of non-Lions exported the items to their Lion friends in Lviv and Kiev, Ukraine, to distribute further, says Lion Hanna Sobiech.

Lions CLubs members with stacks of supplies
Along the border Lions collected goods from Portugal, Lithuania, France, Canada, Denmark, and Poland, and sent needed items to their Lion friends in Lviv and Kiev, Ukraine.

Sobiech, Second Vice District Governor in District 121, also runs the Lions Quest program in Poland. In mid-April, she said they were sending their fifth truckload of essentials to Ukraine.

In Portugal, Rodrigues, a LCIF Multiple District Coordinator, says, “We could not have been more correct when we launched this challenge. At a moment of great crisis, great missions appear, and the Lions of Braga are proud. Their role has made a real difference at this time of profound humanitarian crisis. We are pioneers.”