A year ago today (24th February), Russia launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea. This was the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War II. Thousands of Ukrainian families had no choice but to flee their homeland, taking only what they could carry.
With a history of working in Moldova and Romania, which both border Ukraine, Children on the Edge responded immediately. Thanks to the generous outpouring of support from our community we were able to make an impact as refugees arrived, then throughout the year as they came to terms with the longer term consequences of the war.
A RAPID RESPONSE
With established local partners in Romania and Moldova, and great generosity from our supporters, Children on the Edge were able to respond almost immediately.
Within one week we sent out initial funds to meet the emergency needs of the first wave of Ukrainian arrivals.
Within 10 days our COO, Ben Wilkes was in Romania, planning with our local partners and talking with Ukrainian refugees arriving across the border.
Within 2 weeks our £15, 000 Emergency fund was providing transit accommodation for refugees travelling through to wider Europe, food and other supplies to refugees as they arrived in Romania and Moldova.
One year on we are still offering vital support for refugees, as the support from other organisations has waned and are committed to supporting Ukrainian refugees as they face a second year away from home.
You can donate to our Ukraine Appeal to support refugees as the conflict enters a second year.
MEET IRYNA GORBACHOVA
Iryna and her family didn’t plan to go to Romania. They decided on travelling to Bulgaria because the language and culture there is similar to Ukraine. She considered going to Poland for the same reason, but as so many refugees had already gone there, she knew it would be overrun.
Iryna met Marius Aonicesei, the director of our partner organisation in Romania in the spring of 2022, through online Telegram and Whatsapp groups, hastily set up by Ukrainian refugees as they arrived, knowing no one and not speaking the language. Marius needed an English speaker and Iryna volunteered.
In the swarm of agencies and volunteer groups arriving in Romania and Moldova, through the expertise of our local partners, we focused on those who were the most marginalised.
This involved focusing on identified gaps in services, and providing flexible support to reach those who needed it most. After our initial rapid response, we turned our focus to those refugees who were faced with the reality that they had no choice but to stay longer term in Romania and Moldova. To meet these needs, we: