World Jewish Relief Annual Dinner - Page 4



2
We l c o m e f r o m
our Chief Executive
D E A R F R I E N D S , T H A N K YO U S O M U C H F O R J O I N I N G U S H E R E T H I S E V E N I N G
A N D S H OW I N G YO U R R E M A R K A B L E A N D G E N E R O U S S U P P O R T F O R T H E WO R K
T H AT W E D O A N D T H E P E O P L E W E A S S I S T.
I appreciate that when there
is so much happening in
our midst here at home,
it is ever more difficult to
focus on what is going on
elsewhere. The towns and
cities in the former Soviet
Union, where World Jewish
Relief concentrates its
attention, are far away, grey,
unpronounceable and out
of the news. Yet the voices,
particularly of our older
Jewish beneficiaries, ring
loud in my ears every day
and tonight is an important
moment to ensure that you
hear them too.
Life remains extremely
difficult for these people,
particularly in Ukraine.
But what has changed
you may ask – is it not
the same as last year?
Well, unfortunately not.
As global poverty levels
actually decline year on
year in much of the middle
income world, Ukraine’s
GDP decreases and the
health and wealth status
of its population falls even
quicker. Our Jewish clients
really are struggling.
Many of you will have read
about the naval skirmish
between Russian and
Ukrainian forces in the Sea
of Asov last November – a
reminder that Ukraine
remains in a state of
conflict with millions of its
citizens affected. With the
implementation of martial
law, restrictions on travel
and the mobilisation of
reservists, tension in the
country is high.
Speaking to our older
clients I can hear the deep
worry in their voices. After
all they’ve been through,
with barely enough money
in their pockets to afford to
heat their tiny apartments,
with winter battering on
their windows, lonely and
alone, even just the fear of
further conflict, political
instability and economic
ruin is enough to trigger
panic and anxiety.
We are committed to
helping them; we will do
what we can to make life
more bearable, repair their
homes, connect them to
others, provide medical
assistance and bring some
dignity to their autumn
years. But their cry is
genuine, their needs great
and I certainly feel that
we have a responsibility,
almost an obligation, to

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