Volunteering is not just a word, it combines disinterestedness, sincerity, generosity. As well as pain and empathy for a loved one because these feelings move people to help and mutual assistance.
The Russian-Ukrainian war, which began on February 24, 2022, instantly changed the usual life of everyone. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, more than 400,000 Ukrainian citizens entered Moldova in the first months of the war. To date, there are about 90 thousand Ukrainian refugees in Moldova.
The military conflict did not leave indifferent both large international organizations and local volunteer centers, as well as individual citizens of Moldova. Yesterday, March 14, 2023, Emotional Support Service “Nadiya E!” celebrated a year since the first distribution of aid “Nadiya Pak”. These are baby food and hygiene kits provided to mothers with small children. However, this is not the only aid provided by the Refugee Assistance Centre. How it all started, what difficulties the center faced and what kind of help was provided by Nadiya E! for this year, read in the article.
“Nadiya E!” – a small team with a big mission
Center “Nadiya E!” is a program of the non-profit organization “Altruism” of a regional scale in the Republic of Moldova. The creation of the project, the search for partners and sponsors, as well as the provision of aid and emotional support to refugees is the work of a small team. The volunteer center is based in Chisinau.
Prior to the start of the project to help Ukrainian refugees, the center worked in a different direction, providing services to people in emergency situations. Lyubov Cheban, the founder of the Emotional Support Service, tells about this:
“Our organization has been and continues to be engaged in issues of suicidology and counseling of people in crisis situations for over 10 years. When the war started, it was difficult for us to reorganize because we had a well-established system, we knew what we were doing, why and how. We had to start a new project from scratch because we wanted to do it; because I am from Ukraine and we were not indifferent to what was happening, like most citizens of the Republic of Moldova.”
Work on the new project caused a number of difficulties. One of the first was to choose a direction and a narrower category of people who needed help.
“There were a lot of people and associations who wanted to participate and do something too. Therefore, we decided on a niche and began to help mothers with babies. We have been doing this all year and continue to help further,” says Lyubov.
Maria Cheban, responsible for the distribution of food and hygiene items for the children of the project, lists the services provided by the center during the year: “Psychological support (individual and group), excursions, cultural integration, culinary gatherings, meetings with teenagers, distribution of food and hygiene kits for children up to three years of age.”
Every crisis situation and working through it with people is different. According to accountant Natalia Nemtanu, the distinguishing features of “Nadiya E!” from the previous ones are:
- empathy and desire to help people, especially young children;
- meeting new interesting people;
- “new page” of experience in our practice.
As mentioned above, “Nadiya E!” has been providing assistance to Ukrainian refugees for a year and plans to continue its activities. Thus, the project assistant Kristina Doroftey tells about the future plans of the center:
“We will continue to help mothers with small children under 3 years old because we believe they are one of the most vulnerable groups. For other refugees, I think we will gradually move to another level of assistance. We will help them integrate into society, become independent (especially for women), succeed in employment, etc. We plan to organize events for them, and women from Ukraine themselves will be able to organize their own events for other refugees.”
About the activities of the center according to refugees
For a year of work, the volunteer center has helped over 5,000 Ukrainians. We interviewed the most active visitors of “Nadiya E!” about the work of the organization. These people not only received help, but also took part in the development of the center, acting as volunteers.
Elena (Donetsk): “First I came for an individual consultation with a psychologist Lyuba in June. I found myself in a friendly atmosphere, where they were imbued with my problem and were ready to provide all kinds of support. I attended both individual and group psychological sessions. I go to Romanian language courses. I attended master classes, went on excursions, received consultation on employment. From time to time I volunteer at the center. I appreciate their work. Always sincere, benevolent, life-affirming, with understanding, support and encouragement.”
Elena (Avdeevka): “I go to almost all the events of the center. Lyuba, the head of the center, and Masha are very responsive and help literally everyone who applies to the center. New workshops and meetings are held every month. I am very grateful for that.”
Irina (Odessa): “I started going to the center in August. The first time I went to English with Liana. And so it all started… Psychological training with Valeria, Romanian with Felicia… I love everyone! Especially Luba, the head of the project, is very kind and sympathetic! She provided us with a place to study for a manicure, and we just gathered there – we fried pancakes with other girls. I really want the center to have more funding. I can’t imagine my stay in Chisinau without Nadiya E. There is a very warm and friendly atmosphere in this center!”
“Nadiya E!” thanks all the sponsors who have helped and continue to help the center, namely the Ukrainian refugees, throughout this time. Everyone makes an incredible contribution to the lives of one of the most vulnerable populations – mothers and their children. The center and donors are trying to do everything possible to help as many people as possible in an emergency situations. After all, only by uniting, we can overcome all difficulties!