Despite daunting challenges Ukrainian mothers in Romania find time to help fellow refugees
The courage that Ukraine’s women has shown to take up the responsibility for their families while their husbands were left behind in the country was remarkable. Singlehandedly taking care of their children and managing their needs, they all navigated through difficult times and still found a way to be productive.
Majority of the 86,000 refugees from Ukraine are women and children according to a UN report, among them Svitlana, pregnant mother of two who is now a volunteer at the city government and World Vision’s social store in Brasov, Romania.
Instead of being idle and spending time worrying about the war, she is devoting her time to helping others. “I assist my fellow Ukrainian people by supporting them when they have questions at the social store. I talk to them, and I also help translate for them.”
Rita, a mother of two, shared how she became responsible of her family while fleeing the war because her husband was working outside of the country. “We go to the social store two times every month. There is enough for my children’s needs.”
Krystyna, a lawyer back in Ukraine, started as a volunteer in a government office and is now working fultime. She said it is her way of giving back to people who supported Ukraine. She also advocates for fellow refugees to find work and be productive.
The resilience and courage of these women are praiseworthy. One cannot imagine the suffering they endure because of this crisis, yet, they look at the positive side by being productive and being grateful.
The recent UN policy paper Global Gendered Impact of the Ukraine Crisis highlighted that out of the 7.3 million people who has fled the country, and the 7.7 million who are internally displaced, “majority are women and children”.
Rita shared her gratitude to the many people who extended their helping hands to refugees like her family. “In Romania, help is everywhere – from our neighbours, even people on the streets, our hosts and organizations like World Vision”, she added.
Both women expressed their desire to go home. “I hope for peace, and for the war to be over soon so we can return home. We are so grateful for all the support we receive. I will do this volunteer work for as long as the war continues”, Svitlana said.
"The resilience and courage of these women are praiseworthy. One cannot imagine the suffering they endure because of this crisis, yet, they look at the positive side by being productive and being grateful. They are an inspiration to the rest of the women in the world", said Eka Zhvania, Country Response Director for Romania and Moldova.
World Vision’s response to the Ukraine crisis has reached out to over 409,279 people, 121,685 of these are those who fled to Romania. Through 19 local partners in 10 municipalities, World Vision is helping provide their basic needs, food and cash assistance, education and psychosocial support and other services.
Story by Cecil Laguardia, Communications Director I Photos by Eugene Combo and Chris Lete