Alongside Ukrainian refugees!
Our staff was helping, as usual, children and families in need from our area, when, on a March day, the streets of Galați filled with Ukrainians fleeing the war: in the terrible cold, women and children wrapped in blankets, with their whole life in a suitcase, were leaving behind husbands, fathers and a place they used to call “home”.
We immediately got involved, at first with only 2 people and a car, helping them find transportation, a place to sleep, food, and other essentials. The phones were ringing day and night, and through the 3 border points near Galați, thousands of people were entering daily, with over 10,000 people on some days. Many were just passing through, but some stayed, waiting near the borders for a possible resolution of the conflict, to return…
Nearly two months in which we ran day and sometimes night to receive them, to ensure their immediate needs had passed. But one day, as we were loading a family into a minibus we had found to transport them to Germany, a woman fell to her knees beside the car, crying uncontrollably, with her phone in her hand. Someone translated what she was saying: “My home, my home is gone! They bombed it! There is nothing left there!” That was when we realized that it would not be something temporary, that many of these people have nowhere to return, or that this will not happen soon. Since then, we have started to seriously consider the long-term help and support for the refugees who remained.
How do we help them?
With open arms.
Many of our initial activities have been supporting accommodation centers, border points, and other institutions that provide assistance to our neighbors in need.
What we have helped so far with:
- 3 border points and the Galați Train Station – – arranging spaces, food, water
- 10 locations with translators- – translation is very important, as most refugees do not speak Romanian or other common European languages
- 7 refugee accommodation centers in Galați and Brăila – arranging spaces with furniture, household equipment, donations of food, cleaning products, hygiene products, clothes, toys, and other useful items for refugees, reimbursing transport for refugees from borders or to various destinations.
Tons of aid sent to Ukraine.
Inimă de Copil has helped with:
- organizing and sending 12 transportations of essential resources (food, hygiene products, medicine, medical equipment, and equipment for accommodation spaces)
- logistic support for over 60 humanitarian transportations carried out by local partners
Centers that are a new HOME
And, when most of the volunteers were tired, the services for refugees were closing or diminishing, and many focused on short-term needs, Inimă de Copil Foundation created the largest and most complex refugee support service in the area.
We currently have 2 Refugee Resource and Support Centers in Galați and Brăila that help hundreds of refugees monthly. 16 employees work in these centers, over half of whom are Ukrainians, and they have become more than a service – they are communities of Ukrainians who feel accepted, and helped in all their needs; it is a new “home” that heals loneliness, trauma, and restores hope.
We speak about 4 languages (Romanian, Ukrainian, Russian, English), we laugh, cry together, learn to coexist and continue our lives in a world where nothing is the same…
Services provided in our centers:
- social assistance – support for legal registrations, translations to access community services, appointments and accompanying to the doctor, support for finding accommodation, jobs, enrollment in schools, etc.
- daily educational programs –
- daily leisure activities – for children
- socializing activities and support for social integration – for refugee children and adults (including community events, camps, and excursions)
- specialized psychological counseling psihologică
- assistance for vulnerable groups of refugees mothers with babies, people with disabilities, elderly people, sick people
- material and financial donations – clothes, school supplies, medicines, hygiene products, tablets, household products, and appliances
- Romanian and English courses – for adults and children
- mediation of services – from other partners or donors
- long-term accommodation – for 10 refugees in a foundation space
- support for small income-generating activities of women refugees
hot meals provided
children at the centers
How you can get involved:
If at the beginning the enthusiasm to help refugees was high and an impressive number of volunteers, companies, hotels, and authorities got involved, 3-4 months after the start of the war, only a few dedicated organizations remained. But the war in Ukraine is not over, nor is the wave of refugees, even if their numbers vary now to a few hundreds per day in our area.
To continue this work which is and will remain extremely necessary, we need your help.
You can join our mission of solidarity for Ukrainian refugees by:
- Donating basic products for refugee children and families (food, powdered milk, diapers, hygiene and cleaning products, medicine, blankets, school supplies, and toys)
- Donating through the form attached on the right.
Funders and project partners
- SERA/ CARE France
- Good Neighbor Coreea
- UiPath Foundation
- Good Neighbor Corea
- Fundatia Comunitara
- ISU Galati
- SOS Satele Copiilor
- Consiliul Județului Galați
- Biserica Emanuel Galati
- Școala Ucraineana Galati
- Biserica Golgota Brăila
- Clinica Elim Medical
- ACTED Suceava
- Donatori privați