Since February 2022, Ukrainians have experienced devastation, fear and death in their home country. More than four million people have fled and sought protection in a neighbouring European country. After Poland, Romania is now the country that has taken in the most refugees, 650,000 people so far.
Solidar Suisse’s many years of experience in Romania have enabled us to quickly support refugees from Ukraine with local partner organisations – LOGS in the city of Timisoara and the Migrant Integration Center in Braşov. The two partner organisations have been providing care for the refugees from day 1 of the war with immense support from volunteers. Even before the outbreak of the war, LOGS as well as the Integration Centre supported migrants from other countries, for example by facilitating their integration through language courses or intercultural events.
A PIECE OF SELF-DETERMINATION
Since February, the focus has now been on Ukrainian refugees. Thanks to the work of our partners, the people fleeing from the borders to the centres have found a place where they can be cared for, where their children can play in temporary kindergartens and, above all, where they can receive information in their own language and learn about their options and rights, where they can get support for medical or legal matters and where they can find a roof over their heads. Currently, around 150 people arrive at the welcome centres in Braşov and Timisoara every day. The staff and volunteers work continuously, tirelessly – all out of pure solidarity for the people who had to give up their normal, regular lives from one day to the next and became refugees. Thanks to the good cooperation between Solidar Suisse, the local partners, but also the local government and the numerous volunteers, the often traumatised people do not have to live in overcrowded camps with poor sanitary facilities. In Timisoara and Braşov they find, at least temporarily, a safe home.
So far, vouchers have been distributed to over 500 refugees from Ukraine. The vouchers can be redeemed in a variety of shops, such as Lidl, Kaufland, DM or Carrefour. A contract is currently being signed with the Bank of Transylvania so that the refugees in Brasov will receive a credit card. An average of 300 Swiss francs will be transferred to the account, which they can use throughout Romania – to buy their own necessities and at least regain a bit of normality and self-determination.
FOCUS ON SUSTAINABLE AID
How long the solidarity and voluntary services will continue is difficult to predict. The forces are dwindling just like the willingness to donate. But an end to the crisis is far from in sight, and a further increase in the flow of refugees is to be feared. While the first wave of refugees could still travel to relatives abroad and also had some financial reserves, the people now forced to flee usually left their homes with only a bag or suitcase and without a destination. The sustainable support of those who cannot help themselves is the focus of Solidar Suisse. That is why we are planning long-term support for the people most affected by the war with our local partners.