HEKS/EPER Romania has been actively assisting Ukrainians under temporary protection in Romania (UUTPs) and internally displaced individuals (IDPs) in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This has been carried out through several externally funded projects, in collaboration with local NGOs, to provide immediate comprehensive support.
One of these projects, called Multi-sectoral emergency assistance for the most vulnerable conflict-affected people in Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees in Romania, was carried out with support from NCA (Norway Church Aid) – the project implementation started in March 2022, and it was successfully completed in the spring of 2023.
In the project’s first stages, HEKS/EPER Romania collaborated with several organizations like FONSS, The Center for Humanitarian and Social Assistance Nicolina, and The Ambulanta Life Association to offer emergency support in the form of shelter, meals, hygiene products, counselling, medical services, language courses, and social activities for refugees. Living conditions in collective centres were improved by expanding facilities, providing beds and storage spaces.
Starting with August 2022, the project focused solely on Suceava, located in the Northern part of Romania, and on Chernivtsi in Western Ukraine, in collaboration with The Bucovina Institute Association.
The main activities were cash and voucher assistance, distribution of hygiene materials, food items, winter kits and school kits, as well as social events and educational activities for children. Cash and voucher distribution followed a transparent process based on selection criteria targeting vulnerable individuals and families, such as women or child-headed households, separated or unaccompanied children, and people with chronic illnesses or disabilities.
Overall, the project aimed to address the immediate needs of beneficiaries and improve their living conditions, including access to proper sanitation, basic needs supplies and winter essentials. Moreover, through MHPSS services, HEKS/EPER sought to support beneficiaries’ mental health and psychosocial well-being by organizing recreational activities and school-related initiatives to ensure the children’s education and overall development.
Due to the nature of the conflict, project implementation faced challenges such as delays in procurement and finding suitable suppliers due to workforce shortages and limited availability. High demand and supply chain disruptions also posed difficulties in acquiring essential items like food, clothing, and tablets. But despite these challenges, the whole team adapted to ensure project success.
As a result, almost 37,000 beneficiaries were reached with humanitarian assistance between March 2022 and April 2023. We believe the project demonstrated a compassionate approach to meeting the diverse needs of refugees in Romania and IDPs in Chernivtsi.
The feedback received from the people we served speaks for itself:
“I am very grateful for such help, which is timely and appropriate and timely. If there is an opportunity to continue such a program, we will be very grateful to you, because really, when you start your life from 0, we have a lot of needs, and due to such help, they are slowly starting to be covered.”
“We are pensioners; my wife has cancer, and the pension is minimal, thanks to you.”
“If you have the opportunity, please continue to help us!”
The now consolidated partnership of HEKS/EPER Romania and The Bucovina Institute Association will continue to be nurtured in the implementation of a new project in the same geographical areas, gradually shifting its focus from immediate emergency response to promoting sustainable community integration for displaced Ukrainian people.