A country under pressure – inside and out
By the end of June some 7.5 million people had fled the fighting in Ukraine. Some folks have tried to return home, but the eastern part of Ukraine is a very dangerous place, so people face an indefinite wait to see if it will be possible to go back safely.
There remain some 80,000 refugees in Moldova, mostly in citizen’s homes, in churches, community centres and rented facilities. Moldovans themselves feel very tense. A small country surrounded by much bigger and more powerful neighbours, Moldova’s choices are limited, and its government is under pressure from all sides. The internal dynamics of the country mean that different regions will often take an opposing view to the centre and keeping any sort of unified position is not possible.
An ongoing blessing
FSCI partners Beginning of Life (BoL) has continued to serve the needs of Moldovans and Ukrainians during the crisis. The hotline it runs as a point of call for refugees and their hosts remains busy, and the team that has been put together thanks to your donations works hard to meet practical needs. BoL has been collecting items from Moldovan citizens and been able to access goods from aid agencies, and its well-stocked storage facility is a hive of activity as volunteers prepare kits of basic food, or hygiene essentials for the Ukrainians that visit all through the day.
In addition, regular aid runs are being made into the Odessa region of Ukraine to help families that have remained access vital basics, including salt, which have been running low for months.
In Chisinau, Beginning of Life’s regular projects have been adapted and expanded to ensure that Ukrainian children and mothers are receiving support with education and able to access after-school activities and counselling. Special sessions have been delivered for a large group teenage orphans, both for what they have been through before the war, and then since.
An ongoing challenge
“Thank you for your participation, and for your support. It is very important for us, and the people that we serve”. Serghei Mihailov, Executive Director, Beginning of Life.
Recent Russian gains in the east mean that tension is once again increasing in Moldova. Refugees are facing a very uncertain future, with a return to loved-ones in Ukraine seeming possible one day, and then unthinkable the next. One thing is certain however – your support has made it possible for Beginning of Life to respond quickly and well to the crisis. Families supported by the BoL team have the knowledge that there is help and may even find some measure of restoration in their temporary home, and that is making all the difference for them right now.