Di Acaster from Breadline recently visited Moldova to meet with the projects who have been supporting Ukrainian refugees...
I am in Moldova again now seeing all our partners, and things are changing all the time. The refugees in Dancu actually all went home by the end of June. The women began to get messages from workplaces saying that if they did not return they would lose their jobs, and they felt they had to look to the future, no matter how hard that was. They also had husbands and other family in Ukraine who they were missing badly. They had arrived as strangers but left as friends, and they are all in touch with each other. Slavic has news from them almost every day, and they all know the doors are open to receive them again should they want to return. So there is just one young woman remaining, and there are occasional people passing through. There are two men there now who I met who are hoping to join friends in Germany.
Although that initial rush of refugees has quietened down, they are still treating them for free when they need healthcare. With our support, the day care centre run by the Charity Mission take over 40 parcels out every month to families staying in homes throughout Moldova. Many of the families have children with additional needs and Antonina is on a particular Facebook group where people know about her expertise and contact her if there are refugee families needing specialist help. She has been particularly helpful sourcing food products for children who have food intolerances - one 4 year old boy with autism was intolerant to both wheat and dairy. Such things are not so easily diagnosed in Moldova and the special food is not easy to find. His Mum was in a hostel and had no choice but to give him what food was being offered, and within weeks he ended up very poorly in hospital. Antonina has discovered where to buy the food he need in Chisinau. It is more expensive, but is worth it because it is life-saving, so she now gets this food for him and he has put on weight and is healthy again. She helps 4 families in this way.
Moldova is being told every day to expect more refugees as the winter comes on because people in Ukraine are without electricity and heating, and in some places there are problems with the water supply. Everyone is preparing to help even more if they do come. It is true what you say in the previous page, Moldova is not the country which is at war, but the effects of the war is the same on them - massively increased food and fuel bills, shortages and threats of energy supplies being cut.
I met a family of refugees through the Charity Mission who had 9 children! They left at the start of the war because she was pregnant, and the baby was born just a few days after arriving in Moldova. They have a small home to live in, but they have gone from living a regular life with family and friends around them, to being in a foreign land where their family is scattered and they do not know when they will see them again or when they will be able to return home. 5 of their 9 children are attending on-line lessons from Ukraine, sharing one mobile phone, and are understandably getting behind with their lessons. We were pleased to help in a small way by providing some funds that should buy at least two more devices, but being faced with people makes it much more real and one can't help thinking about one's own family - children and grandchildren, and how it would be to be living like this.