Pastoral phoneline receives twice as many calls since war


Central Europe


Photo Pixaby.com, Niek Verlaan

Helpline “Telephone Doweria”, located in Berlin, has received twice as many calls from Ukraine as usual since the beginning of the war.

The head of the service, Tatjana Michalak, said to Idea that the number of calls has doubled since Russian troops set foot on Ukrainian territory. According to her, the daily number of calls increased from 15 to 30. Even though people called about a wide array of topics, Michalak also heard of refugees looking for specific help in Berlin, such as addresses, housing, medical support and interpreters.

Telephone Dowerie offers pastoral help in Russian, Idea reports. The phoneline is sponsored by the Diakonisches Werk Berlin-Brandenburg-Schlesische Oberlausits. The name “Dowerie” means ‘trust’ in Russian.

People have different worries about the war

Also, the Evangelical Telephone Counselling receives many calls concerning war. Markus Mute, one of the management team members, says to Jesus.de that about a fifth of all the calls are related to fears of the war.

Photo Pixaby.com

Mute hears many different personal worries. Some people are afraid of a nuclear strike, while others are concerned about relatives in Ukraine. Some people are worried about the high fuel and heating costs or feel powerless.

He advises people with feelings of powerlessness to think about what they can do themselves: donate, go to a peace demonstration or help refugees. “The aim is to enable people to see new perspectives.”

Michalak from Telephone Dowerie said to Idea that some Russian-speaking Berlin citizens called the helpline. Many of them report aggression by locals, verbal abuse, dismissals, damage to property, broken families, fears, powerlessness, feelings of shame and worries about relatives in Ukraine and Russia; she sums up. “Some would not get rooms in hospitals or be served in restaurants if they identified themselves as Russians.”

Photo Pixaby.com

“I am only human”

Personally, Michalak finds the situation in Ukraine challenging as well. She is a native Ukrainian. “I feel the same feelings of fear, worry and powerlessness.” However, she tries to keep her composure as much as possible. “We are in a state of emergency, so we have to be strong now”, she says. When the war is over, she may seek help to process her own feelings. “I am only human.”



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.