Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, 2022, millions in Ukraine were forced to flee to neighbouring countries. Multi-country teams comprising staff members from the ActionAid Federation have been active in Poland, Romania and the Republic of Moldova to provide humanitarian assistance to such families. Three colleagues from ActionAid Association – Khalid Chaudhry, Mukesh Verma and Sharad Kumari – are at the frontline as well. Our colleagues are enriching relief efforts with their vast experience in leading humanitarian initiatives in India.
Our team in Poland was recently at the Ukraine-Poland border to assess the situation and understand the issues and challenges being faced by people coming through the border. ActionAid’s allies provide humanitarian support, including food and non-food/hygiene items, housing support, information, psycho-social care and protection support to women, children and other vulnerable groups. Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH), our local ally, runs relief camps at the border to provide immediate support to incoming refugees.
Our team in Romania has been directly interacting with refugees to listen to their experiences and understand their needs better. Colleagues recently visited a university hostel-turned-refugee camp in Iași where nearly 50 families from the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Odesa have taken shelter. Each family there has been allotted a room and some basic amenities. In these uncertain and challenging times, as several of the refugees at this centre look for work, ActionAid provides support in terms of food.
On May 20, Romania’s National Youth Day, a youth centre was started in Suceava. This centre, to be operated by the Suceava Youth Foundation and National Foundation for Youth, our ally, would provide a space for youth to hold discussions on contextually relevant issues and conduct wide-ranging activities. The structure of this centre has been entirely reconstructed by volunteers from Romania and Ukraine.
On Ukrainian Embroidery Day on May 19, LOGS, another allied organisation, held an event at the refugee centre in Timișoara to celebrate the culture and heritage of Ukraine. Women embroidered and children made paintings while Ukrainian songs played on the public address system; the refugees’ morale received a much-needed boost.
LOGS also recently coordinated weekly visits by doctors, physiotherapists and counsellors to take care of the physical and mental health of the refugees staying at the centre, mainly focusing on newborn babies and their mothers. In addition, on May 21, LOGS facilitated the participation of adolescents staying at the centre in a running competition organised in the city by Timișoara Athlete Club.
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