Crisis in Ukraine: How we have reshaped our activities to offer support?
Mobilizing EU4Youth partners for assistance in the context of the war in Ukraine
EU4Youth project - Social Innovation Impact - a strategic partnership! is implemented in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine by five partners - two partners from Romania, two partners from the Republic of Moldova and one partner from Ukraine. The context created by the war in Ukraine has reconfigured the priorities and activities of the project to provide support in the created humanitarian crisis.
At this moment, our partners from Ukraine have taken refuge in Tulcea, a city in South of Romania and channel all their efforts and skills where they are most needed.
This is what our partners from the Public Youth Organization "New Generation of Europe" in Ukraine / Молодіжна громадська організація «Нове покоління Європи» are saying
"Since the beginning of the full-scale war of Russia against Ukraine (since February 24, 2022), the Tulcea County Council, in cooperation with the Association of Romanian Communes - a branch in the Tulcea County Council (ACoR Asociația Comunelor din România ) in southern Romania, has created a system for receiving and distributing international and domestic humanitarian aid to support the Ukrainian people. Currently, the distribution center system serves Ukrainian cities: Izmail and Odessa and Odessa region, as well as other regions of southern Ukraine, and also helps Ukrainian citizens who entered Romania and live in the territory of Tulcea county.
On March 24, 2022, in Tulcea, an Agreement on Cooperation was signed between the IsraAID Organization and the Association of Romanian Communes - the Tulcea County Branch. This means implementing a warehouse management system and technical assistance in cooperation with ACoR. This project will be implemented under the high patronage of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) and under the leadership of the Tulcea County Council to turn the existing system of nodes into an efficient and effective humanitarian corridor for southern Ukraine.
First of all, the Odessa region and Izmail (as a hub in the south of the Odessa region) will receive even more organized humanitarian assistance, including along the Danube!
Our project team has been involved in this process since the first day of the outbreak of hostilities due to the established good partnership relations during the work in the framework of cross-border European projects with the Association of Communes of Romania and the Tulcea County Council. We are engaged in communication, logistics, loading / unloading of humanitarian cargo, processing the necessary documents and trying to be as useful as possible for our country, regardless of our current territorial location.
We also provide assistance to refugees who come to Romania with resettlement, social integration and counseling / psychological support.
Also, on behalf of the Laboratory, we conduct online / telephone consultations with youth representatives who were involved in project activities regarding the organization of volunteer work both from Romania and from Ukraine, the conditions and logistics of leaving Ukraine, as well as official registration the status of "shelter from military aggression" or refugee status."
How have the priorities of the partners from Romania and the Republic of Moldova changed? In what activities do they get involved?
In this unprecedented dramatic times, individuals, public institutions, private and non-profit organizations in Romania and the Republic of Moldova are involved with all resources to find solutions to help refugees, but also to offer support to those who have remained in Ukraine. More than ever, we see extraordinary solidarity and empathy. To respond to the needs of maximum urgency and in solidarity with our partners in Ukraine, the activities carried out by the partners in Romania and the Republic of Moldova have reshaped their priorities.
Due to the humanitarian crisis, we have decided to postpone the launch the commnunication campaign for the Enterprising for Tomorrow - Social Entrepreneurship & Youth Engagement Conference, to be held on May 13, 2022. We have also postponed the public announcement of the winners of the competition in the Republic of Moldova. The five young people who were selected for funding were announced in a very small event and in solidarity with young people in Ukraine we decided to postpone the promotion of the results of the competition.
During the two years of implementation of the Eu4Youth project we organized numerous events through which we had the opportunity to meet people and organizations from Ukraine, with whom we have established partnerships in order to jointly develop projects and resources for the development of young people through social entrepreneurship. In this context, these partnerships have acquired other purposes.
For example, during a workshop in Ukraine, we have met Sergey Kaptalan, a professor at the University of Odessa and director of the Lower Danube Euroregion Cross-Border Cooperation Agency in Ukraine. Following the event, he became very interested in introducing the concept of social entrepreneurship to his students and working with ADV Romania to start community development projects. In June 2021 he paid us a visit to our headquarters in Iasi and we have signed a partnership agreement.
This relationship has become an important resource in the current crisis, in the sense that ADV Romania has been involved, from the very first days, in organizing a humanitarian transport of medicines and objects essential for the survival of those who remained in Ukraine. The transport was delivered by colleagues from ADV to the border between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the Bessarabian crossing point, where it was taken over by Sergey Kaptalan and his team of volunteers.
At the same time, ADV Romania has co-financed the establishment of a transition center for refugees in Iasi, organized by FONSS - Federation of Non-Governmental Organizations for Social Services, a network established by our initiative in 2014, for which we held the presidency of the first term, and in which today we are members with other 43 organizations in Romania.
In the future, we want to open a program for the integration of refugees into our own social enterprises.
The social innovation laboratories in Chisinau, Cahul and Cantemir, set up as part of the project, are actively involved in assisting refugees
The Social Innovation Laboratory in Chisinau, managed by the National Platform of Women of Moldova (PNFM), bought basic necessities: blankets, detergents, medicines, food and children's clothes - which were distributed to the Center for Refugees in Causeni.
In addition, each member of the PNFM team provided individual assistance, respectively: provided the Refugee Center in the village of Drepcăuți, Briceni district, with food for one day - for 17 refugees (mothers, children); The Moldexpo Chisinau Refugee Center was provided with products and clothes for children.
At the same time, PNFM has a network of over 50 ambassadors located in each district of the country, in this sense the ambassadors were urged to help refugees. Most of them are involved, locally and regionally, in supporting refugees - with psychological, financial, material and logistical support resources.
The Cantemir Social Innovation Laboratory, managed by the Cross-Border Cooperation Association “Lower Danube Euroregion” (ACTEDJ), dedicated the Martisor (the traditional spring holiday in Moldova and Romania) to solidarity with Ukraine.
The partners from ACTIE have been individually involved in various activities to support refugees. They contributed financially to the refugee cause by transferring money to the "Humanitarian Assistance to Refugees in Ukraine" fund created by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Moldova. Also, several members of the organization donated clothes, toys and food to the Cahul Maternal Center. A reception center for mothers with children in Ukraine was organized there.
These examples reveal how the capabilities and the relationships we have developed due to the EU4Youth project we have been implementing in the last two years, have given us the opportunity to play a valuable role in this crisis. In this dramatic context, the involvement of all partners offers a ray of hope, resources for resilience and the courage to build a new life. Now, perhaps more than ever, the values of the social economy are becoming even more relevant, and in the recovery process, social enterprises and entrepreneurs with social DNA will play a significant role. They will be more present than ever, and young people will become more aware of the power of social entrepreneurship.
What project activities in Ukraine have been suspended?
On March 1, we have announced the 8 winners of the Competition Accelerator of Social Enterprises - 5 young people from Rep. Moldova and 3 young people from Ukraine, who have been selected to receive a grant of 7,500 euros to establish social impact enterprises.
These days, the three young people from Ukraine should have been busy implementing their project, and the Ismail Social Innovation Laboratory should have been providing counseling and mentoring for them, information services, networking and training for all young people who want to learn about social entrepreneurship.
- A center for the repair of equipment for people with disabilities, which would have solved the problem of thousands of people with disabilities in the Odessa region who lose their ability to move when the technical means of rehabilitation (wheelchairs, crutches, prostheses, etc.) get broken. In the Odessa region alone, there are more than 85,000 users of technical rehabilitation equipment.
- A practical training center for graduates of naval institutions, which aims to provide top-notch training, based on a model of social innovation, which focuses on the inclusion of people with disabilities and environmental protection.
- An innovative and accessible tool for people with hearing impairment throughout Ukraine, which would contribute to the socio-professional integration of this vulnerable and excluded category - the number of people in Ukraine with hearing impairment is estimated at 1.5 million. people.
These are the projects of the youth in the Odessa region which would have now come to life. Unfortunately, the tragic situation in Ukraine has reconfigured all the plans.
Here are a few screenshots from the online Pitch session, with young people from Ukraine piching the jury to invest in their social impact ideas
We hope that peace will come soon and that these young people will be able to start implementing these projects and will play a key role in the process of socio-economic reconstruction.
#Together we #staystrong #forUkraine 🇺🇦
Photo by Daniele Franchi on Unsplash