Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, more than 8 million people have taken refuge in neighboring countries. Among these, Moldova is the one that has been more impacted and is currently hosting many families in refugee accommodation centres and homes. Thanks to ChildFund Alliance and its partner ChildFund Germany, WeWorld immediately took action to give support to people affected by the war, both inside and outside the Ukrainian borders. WeWorld has been operating in Moldova since March 2022, providing support to families who have crossed the border in search of shelter, with particular attention to children. The goal is to restore a situation of normality for those who have had to leave their homes and have suffered, and are suffering still, the traumas of a conflict.
Moldova is a small country between southern Ukraine and Romania, with a population of 2.6 million people. Nearly 700,000 people from Ukraine have crossed the border in search of a safe place. This has made Moldova the country with the highest number of displaced people per capita in Europe. Refugee’ flows out of Ukraine are continuous and evolve with the dynamics of the conflict. By the end of September, more than 285,000 people had re-crossed the border back to Ukraine. Currently, more than 95,000 people are registered in Moldova, hosted mainly in private accommodations (97%), but also in refugee accommodation centers set up by the government. They are mostly women and children.
The main entry point for people fleeing Ukraine is Palanca in the south - a few kilometers from Odessa -, a city with more than a million inhabitants. Both the government and the Moldovan people have a positive approach towards the Ukrainian refugees in the country. Nonetheless, being Moldova the smallest economy in Europe, it is suffering from a high rate of inflation and rising energy prices. For this reason, humanitarian support to Ukrainian refugees must go hand in hand with integration and livelihoods, not only for refugees but also for the most vulnerable people in the Moldovan society.
We decided to intervene in Moldova immediately, from the beginning of the conflict, as one of the hottest borders on the war front in Ukraine which immediately became a place of welcome for many families in difficulty. WeWorld has supported over 20,000 people in the country until now, especially women and children, with a multi-sector approach.
In the local communities of Chisinau and Criuleni, our support articulates through several actions and services: distributions of food items to 350 families each week, for a total of 13,000 people; distributions of 6,000 hygiene kits; formal and informal education activities; legal guidance; psychosocial support; language courses and possible relocation services to allow families who have lost their homes to find a safe accommodation.
Psychological support is guaranteed to over 5,000 people, 60 percent of whom are minors. For them, two Child-Friendly spaces have been set up, where they can receive psychological support, play, rest and find some normality, an essential condition for being able to look to the future.
Given the context of the country, WeWorld’s response focuses on strengthening the resilience of host institutions and communities, as well as the livelihood of the refugee community, by promoting economic inclusion, access to essential services and social cohesion among refugee and host communities. These elements play a key role in ensuring that refugees become more resilient and self-reliant, and they reduce the factors of risk and vulnerability. It is why all our activities in the country take into account social cohesion and the active involvement of both the refugee and the host communities, to strengthen integration. In fact, food and other basic needs come mostly from local producers, to support the local economy and small Moldovan producers, while the refugee population is actively involved in the organization and delivery of food parcels.
WeWorld's intervention in Ukraine is possible thanks to the support of ChildFund Alliance, Childfund Australia, Childfund Korea, Childfund Japan, Childfund New Zealand, Educo and many companies and people who are supporting us.