On the second day of the war, diehard staff and volunteers from Star of Hope Romania went to the Ukrainian border.
With your support, we have helped over 12,000 Ukrainian refugees since then.
"The goal is for them to live a near normal life here," says our Romanian operations manager Aura Vatamaniuc.
Star of Hope Romania's efforts for refugee families started at the border crossings outside Siret and Husi, where we early on put extra focus on refugees with disabilities.
"It came naturally because it is a target group that we have worked with for over 30 years", says Aura Vatamaniuc.
Today, three work teams work in three shifts to meet their needs. At the first meeting, we offer the fleeing families water, food, medicine, hygiene items, and emotional support. In addition, various activities are arranged for the children, which help them disconnect their war experiences for a while and just be children again. Many families have received a roof over their heads at our rehabilitation centers in Iasi and Dorohoi.
Our efforts have been noticed by Unicef, which after study visits to centers and border crossings chose to start a collaboration with Star of Hope Romania. Thanks to that, we can now take on a new group of refugees. We provide them with accommodation, food, clothing, health care, education, leisure activities, and counselling. On the education front, priority is given to courses in Romanian and English, among other things.
A total of 4,330 Ukrainian children are covered by this initiative.
"We are happy to collaborate with Star of Hope," says Gabriel Vockel, deputy for Unicef in Romania.
The children with disabilities have access to rehabilitation at the Star of Hope center in Romania. There, we work with, among other things, physiotherapy, speech pedagogy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
"This mainly concerns children with Down's syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy," says Aura.
Aura's heart beats a little extra for all the single mothers she has met. Those not single six months ago were forced to say goodbye to their children's fathers in Ukraine. Those who are now forced to rebuild their lives, on their own, without a stable foundation to stand on.
"We have helped some of them regain financial security," says Aura. At each center and border crossing, there is now at least one refugee that we have employed. In this way, these mothers get the chance to help their compatriots and earn their own way.
Aura is proud of all the good that has been done, but also points out that the work must continue. For a family on the run, Star of Hope's help can make all the difference in the world.
Give a gift to the continued work in Romania >>>
text Torbjörn Vårsaga Sep, 2022