“We are doing what we can”
As refugees seek safety in countries on Ukraine’s western border, our partners offer welcome and care.
More than 180,000 refugees have entered Romania from Ukraine since the war began, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration. Three-quarters of these have already gone on to other countries in Europe, or the US. But those who remain need assistance.
By Sergiu Brădean
We are doing what we can to help people both here in Constanta and closer to the border with Ukraine. People who need to stay for a week or two in Romania until they figure out what to do, and people who have nowhere to go, don’t have money and need to stay at least until the war is over.
In Constanta we have prepared accommodation with meals for a few days (after which people tend to want to cook for themselves) with our church family. There are four families able to receive refugees. We also have a one-bedroom apartment that the owner has said we can use if we pay for the utilities.
At the church we have set up four rooms to offer a place to stay for between eight and 10 people (more if some are young children), as well as installing a boiler for hot water. We are currently waiting for mattresses to be delivered to set up another, larger room in the attic for another 10 people. Three young women with toddlers, a mother with 19-year-old twins, her daughter-in-law and four-year-old granddaughter are staying at the church at the moment, and they hope to stay until the war is over.
A team of women from the church have made themselves available to cook in the church kitchen. Another team go shopping (and take those staying with us shopping at our expense), while a third group are ready to offer transport.
Close to the border
We’ve also been helping other churches closer to the border with Ukraine to accommodate refugees arriving there and support local authorities. We’re sending food and supplies to two Baptist churches and are in contact with the director of Christian camp. We’ve been helping local authorities with supplies for the shelters where they receive refugees who need official documents, or who have applied for asylum. We’re also helping with transport for refugees from border towns to Constanta and Bucharest.
Choosing to stay
There are also a lot of people in need of support who have chosen not to leave Ukraine, and we’re trying to support churches helping them. On 6 March we had an offering in our church and raised about £500. We’ve been trying to get supplies too, and along with other churches and NGOs we hope to be able to send aid to Ukraine – one church will come by car to pick up supplies from us on their way.