Moldovan families open their hearts and homes to Ukrainian refugees
31 Aug 22
When Olga saw the footage of Russian forces invading Ukraine on her television screen, she knew she had to do something to help those fleeing the war.
“I was watching TV, and I started to cry, seeing what destruction there is in Ukraine,” Olga said.
“When I was asked on the phone if I agreed to receive some people with this trouble from Ukraine, I agreed at once.”
Olga lives in Moldova, which has one of the highest poverty rates in Europe. It is estimated that a staggering 26 per cent of its population are living below the national poverty line.
Six months on from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, more than 550,000 people have crossed the border into Moldova, the majority of them women, children and the elderly. This massive influx of displaced people from Ukraine has put an enormous strain on existing resources.
Despite this, many families have opened their hearts and homes to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. So far, Olga has hosted more than eight refugees in her home. She recalls one family who felt immense gratitude and relief after arriving at her home.
“When they got to my house, those kids, they started crying and got on their knees,” Olga said.
“And they say, “Mum, it is so good here.” Warm floor. They were frozen, hungry.”
First, I was afraid and I did not know where I was going. I was very scared. When I arrived at the border, I did not know where I was going. Volunteers helped me. Someone called me and said they have found a family. This is the same family I am staying with now. They are wonderful people.
Caritas Australia has partnered with CRS Moldova to help people like Olga to keep their doors open.
The Safe and Dignified Accommodation program aims to support families to find long-term and safe accommodation. It also provides financial support for host families like Olga’s, who are housing Ukrainian refugees in their homes.
“The vast majority of the refugee families from Ukraine are actually staying with host communities,” said Federico Rota, CRS Head of Programs (Ukraine and Moldova).
“They are also providing food, hygiene items, items for schooling, and a number of other expenses, such as paying for transportation for some families to move further into Europe. So this cash support really looks at providing an assistance that is tailored, but also can be adapted.”
How your support is helping support refugees in Moldova
Moldovan households have been supported with incentives for hosting refugees
Ukrainian refugees are living in safe, dignified transitional accommodation