Skip to content

World Vision Canada CEO 'heartbroken' by separation of families, children at Ukraine border

Michael Messenger says his organization is rapidly increasing their efforts to provide essential items to families on the ground.

Michael Messenger, the CEO of World Vision Canada, is hoping to share his first-hand experiences, with the aim that more people will support Ukrainians through the organization.

Messenger was at the Romania-Ukraine border for about a week, where he was able to help families and kids in need directly. 

But there were certain things that he saw that were unforgettable. 

"The most heartbreaking were families, mostly women and children, coming, pushing a stroller, pulling a small suitcase, backpacks—just coming into the unknown, constant stream across the border," Messenger told The Sam Laprade Show on Tuesday, March 22.

This coming Thursday, Messenger notes, will be mark one month since Ukrainians left their homes, which is now estimated to be nearly three-and-a-half million people who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. But it's the parents, he says, who feel they have no control of what's to come, especially when it comes to protecting their kids—a population which Messenger feels is the most vulnerable. 

But that's where his organization comes in. 

"That's what organizations like ours are doing is trying to come alongside those parents, mostly mothers, who have not only experienced that trauma of having their whole family being ripped out of everything that they're familiar with," he explained, adding that even ordinary things such as dance classes and community events were taken away from them.

"They may not have anywhere that they can go, they're savings are probably almost worth nothing because the currency changed—that's the heartbreaking reality of these families." 

He acknowledges that the crisis will have long-term implications but his focus is to do what he can do to help as many families as possible. 

Messenger also notes that even in times of uncertainty for many families on the ground, he admires the parents who are dedicated to providing a safe place for their kids and families.

Even as many of us may feel helpless on this side of the world, he expresses feeling the same too. But he explains that he challenges that energy into positivity and inspiration—something he hopes others can do as well. 

"Right now, we have to think about how can we support families today? How can we provide the things that we need to survive?" he said. "Importantly, for us at World Vision how do we help children who are always the most vulnerable in moments like (this)?"

Messenger says even as little as $10 can go a long way to help provide essential needs such as diapers and baby formula for children in need of those items.

You can listen to Michael Messenger's full conversation below: 

Rogers Sports & Media
2001 Thurston Drive Ottawa, ON, K1G 6C9
© 2006-2023 Rogers Sports & Media. All rights reserved.
push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks