We are supporting refugees in Moldova

The current conflict poses a grave threat to the civilian population in Ukraine. 4 million people have fled their country in search of refuge. The Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation has been active in countries bordering Ukraine, especially in Moldova, since 2008. We have recently adapted and stepped up our activities on the ground.

Ukrainian refugees on the border between Ukraine and Moldova. Aurel Obreja

The number of people, especially women and children, fleeing Ukraine is increasing daily. While between 150 and 200 refugees are being looked after in the Children's Village in Trogen, we are also helping out where we can in Ukraine's neighbour, Moldova. More than 400,000 refugees have already arrived in Moldova. Many of them have moved on, but more than 100,000 currently remain there. We are working with partner organisations and authorities to provide support in five government reception centres, which offer a safe haven and shelter to more than 2,000 refugees. In the centres in Carpineni, Cimislia, Congaz, Criuleni and Cimiseni, our support focuses on distributing hygiene and household items for daily use, such as mattresses, pillows, blankets and towels.

Children are suffering the most

According to Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the lives and well-being of up to 7.5 million boys and girls of school age in Ukraine are seriously threatened by the conflict. The invaders do not seem to hold back from attacking educational institutions either. It is therefore not surprising that children account for about one third of the refugees. There are currently 700 girls and boys in the five reception centres in Moldova. Air-raid sirens, living in air-raid shelters and leaving their familiar surroundings behind have left their mark, which is why our staff on the ground organise psychosocial support for them. We also facilitate activities and games for the children in order to contribute to their daily well-being during their stay at the centres.

Evghenia with her son Timca at the reception centre in Cimiseni, Moldova. Pestalozzi Children's Foundation

Fleeing with only the bare essentials

Evghenia, her husband and their five children are among those who have found temporary shelter in the reception centre in the village of Cimiseni, near the capital Chisinau. The family packed a few important things in great haste and then left their hometown. “I could no longer allow my children to go to bed to the sound of air raids and be woken up by sirens. In my hurry, I only grabbed the essentials - and a toy for the children, a turtle. We asked a friend to drive us to the border. From there we continued on foot,” she reports. The children are between three and 13 years old. Each family member has their own bed on the top floor of the reception centre. They are safe here for now. What comes next is of secondary importance for the time being.