With the beginning of the war in Ukraine, thousands of people crossed the border towards Europe, especially women, elderly and children. Thanks to AVSI's network in countries bordering Ukraine (Poland, Romania and Moldova), we were able to provide emergency assistance: welcoming in reception centers, cooperation to register Ukrainians fleeing the war and distribution of essential goods.
Some Ukrainians only transited through these countries, but others decided to stay. For them, AVSI has activated integration projects: language courses, help in finding housing, job placement.
AVSI’s response in Poland
In Poland, AVSI collaborates with AVSI Polska in Warsaw, Chelm, Wegrow, Lublin and Lowicz, and has activated partnerships with Caritas Lublin, the municipalities of Chelm, Wegrow and Lowicz, as well as with private companies.
After the very first emergency interventions, AVSI’s activities focused on integration through work: we organized both technical and language training courses, while promoting refugee employment programs (targeting and selection, job placement) in cooperation with 15 companies.
One of the main obstacles for women was the fact had no one else to look after their children while they worked: AVSI took care of it by placing children in local kindergartens or company nurseries, and offering recreational and psycho-social activities.
“One of the biggest challenges of our intervention in Poland,” Maria Gaudenzi, who coordinates AVSI’s response in emergencies, explains “it’s the fact that the refugees we meet are very war-torn, often having fled Ukraine without then knowing what to do or where to go. Understandably, their plans change as the situation evolves. Many of them are highly skilled people, while on the other hand the job offers and related salaries are lower-level. It is not easy to choose to settle in another country, to start over. That’s why we also offer psychological and childcare support.”
Thanks to the funds raised, we helped 7,400 refugees in Poland:
- 7,300 refugees assisted in transit and first reception centers.
- + 1,000 registered refugees.
- 141 Ukrainian women employed by 15 Polish companies.
- 48 children placed in childcare centers, so that their mothers could attend classes or work.
- 95 people participating in soft skills and technical training courses (16 courses started) and/or Polish language courses (60 courses started).
AVSI’s response in Romania
In Romania AVSI operates in collaboration with Asociația FDP-Protagonists in educatie and in partnership with the Fara, KAIROS and Inima de Copil organizations, as well as the municipalities of Suceava, Galați and Isaceea and the Romanian Government Social Services in Bucharest.
Between March and December 2022, AVSI was in charge of receiving Ukrainian refugees in Suceava (for Ukrainians who entered Romania from Siret), Galați (for Ukrainians who entered Romania from Isaccea) and Bucharest: we managed reception points at the border and helped about 14,000 refugees in transit by distributing essential items. We were also responsible for sorting aid donations at the border and transporting them to Ukraine (mainly food items).
We supported about 100 families with medium- to long-term interventions: psycho-social and protection support for vulnerable people, inclusion in school and sports activities for children, identification of beneficiaries for cash-for-rent activities and job placement.
AVSI’s response in Moldova
In Moldova, through the collaboration with Fundatia Regina Pacis (an entity of the Diocese of Chisinau), AVSI helped 390 people mainly through the distribution of food, essential items, health and personal hygiene kits.
What more we can do together
AVSI intends to continue refugee integration activities in Poland and Romania, particularly through training courses and help with job placement by collaborating with local companies.
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