Supporting Ukrainian families with refuge in CauseniPublished: Nov 23, 2023 Reading time: 4 minutes
One year and nine months after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the needs of Ukrainian refugees in Moldova remain acute. According to the latest statistics from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 113,000 Ukrainians are currently seeking refuge in Moldova.
Many Ukrainians seeking safety in Moldova have chosen Causeni as their refuge. Here, in this small, quiet town close to the border with their homeland, several Ukrainian families are trying to build a new life. But as soon as they arrived in Moldova, they faced a series of challenges and problems they could not solve independently. Yet, as many of them acknowledge, their lives as refugees have become less bitter thanks to the support of good people.
Among the good people, many Ukrainians single out the Association of Psychologists Tighina (APT) members for special praise. In several cases, Ukrainians and members of APT have become true friends in a very short time. APT has been helping refugees since the beginning of the war and is part of the regional project "Civil Society Resilience and Media Response to the War in Ukraine". This project is funded by the European Union and implemented by a consortium led by People in Need Moldova in partnership with the Civil Society Centre in Prague and the Dutch Helsinki Committee. The association's dedicated staff provide a wide range of services to refugees seeking help.
"To help them overcome certain problems, our association provides refugees with psychological, social, and paralegal assistance. We also provide them with information support when needed. We provide all these kinds of assistance according to their needs, such as the educational needs of children, special needs of elderly people or mothers with children, etc.," says Ludmila Afteni, President of APT.
As part of this project, APT provides—in addition to social assistance—material aid to families who have found refuge in their area; in particular, APT distributes vouchers to cover urgent needs. The organisation's most recent initiative has been to identify families with people with special needs or severe illnesses and provide them with additional material support. Consequently, seven refugee families have benefited from much-needed items. Families receiving this support are free to find what they need most at the time, and most choose small kitchen appliances.
Anna is one of the refugees who received this aid. She chose an electric oven and a blender to help her cook for her two children, her sick mother and her bedridden father. Anna fled with her family from Odesa Oblast. They had stayed at home for a long time after the war started. Throughout this time, they lived in fear, endured the horrors of war, and hoped for a quick end to hostilities. But when they could no longer bear the psychological pressure, they plucked up courage and set out into the unknown. Fate brought them to Causeni, where they were warmly welcomed and protected by people who were alive to their pain. Anna says she is very grateful for the help we provided her and her family. Our support has helped them adapt more quickly to their new home and overcome the challenges of relocating.
"I would like to thank you for all the help I have received from People in Need. It is essential for us. With these appliances, I can cook for my family and my father, who has special dietary requirements. In addition to the material help we received, we are also very grateful for all the facilities offered to our children, who could attend the Educational Recreational Centre. This has helped them to make new friends, integrate into the community and forget about the war a little," said Anna.
Previously a physical education teacher and volleyball coach, Anna found a job in Causeni. She is now organising volleyball training for local youngsters at the District Centre for Child and Youth Development to help her settle into her new home and feel part of the community that has welcomed her. As she integrates into our country, Anna, like the millions of Ukrainians who have had to flee the war, looks forward to the day when peace returns to Ukraine, and she can be able to return home.