A state of emergency has prevailed in Ukraine for 365 days. Many people have fled, many live with the fear that something terrible could happen at any time, many wait at a safe distance for the longed-for peace back home.
As an aid organisation working in Ukraine's neighbouring countries, we have been there to help from the beginning. We welcomed refugees at the border in Moldova, provided them with food and places to sleep, organised long-term accommodation and supported wherever we could. Now we are all a year older and proud of the aid projects we have set up so quickly for refugee children and parents.
What have we achieved in the last year?
Besides our regular projects for children in poverty, in our project countries in Eastern Europe:
- Received refugees at the border with Moldova
- Organised shelters for children and their mothers
- Distributed countless food parcels
- Provided psychological care
- Organised activities for children, whether it was helping them with their studies or playing games with the children from our centres.
- Assisted with medical and bureaucratic matters
- Assisted host families with firewood, food and cash.
- networked with other aid organisations and started new cooperations.
We have also been offering services for Ukrainian refugees in Austria since March 2022:
- We offer language courses for adults
- care for Ukrainian children and help with learning
- Support with medical and bureaucratic matters
We are proud of...
We are particularly proud of how quickly and professionally our teams on the ground reacted to the sudden outbreak of war. After all, the changeover of the entire daily work routine was one of the biggest challenges for CONCORDIA. We are especially pleased that CONCORDIA was recommended as a contact point within a short time and that we were able to help so many people as a result.
One hurdle for us was the language. With the exception of Moldova, where many people speak Ukrainian, our colleagues needed help translating - a challenge that was not always easy to master.
We are particularly pleased that some Ukrainians have found work in their new adopted country and no longer need CONCORDIA's help.
The moments that give us strength
In addition to the challenges, there were also always beautiful moments from which we could draw new strength. For example, the group of women in Moldova who organised themselves and started to help others - be it the reception at the border or the organisation of activities with children from our centres. Or the high demand for our language café at LenZ in Austria, where we have now even been able to employ two Ukrainians on a permanent basis and welcome several volunteers.
Last but not least, we are of course very honoured to have received the Pax Christi Peace Award for our peacemaking work with refugees.
Fear & lack of prospects
Irina is an ambitious young woman who doesn't let things get her down easily. But everything changed with the attack on her homeland. In addition to the constant fear brought on by the war, the 35-year-old also lost her job as a nail designer. The fear and lack of prospects in Ukraine pushed the 35-year-old to leave the country. She fled alone to Bulgaria, had to leave her family and friends behind in the war zone, and found a place at CONCORDIA.
Despite the formative experiences in Ukraine, Irina always tries to look forward: "The war is cruel, but I try to see the positive in my life, like the opportunities I got in Bulgaria." Even though it was not easy for her, she never gave up on her dream. "At CONCORDIA I was welcomed with warmth and cordiality. The staff did not allow me to give up and break down. On the contrary, they helped me develop and realise my dreams." Today, a year after the war began, Irina has regained her composure with the help of CONCORDIA and can pursue her passion in a beauty salon in the centre of Sofia.
Escape without a father
Sofia fled with her mother and grandparents from Nicolaev to Moldova in March last year. Traumatised and full of pain that her father had to stay in the war zone, the family of 4 did not know where to go. But CONCORDIA knew a solution. We brought the family together with Pavel, an English teacher from Tudora, who opened his door to the four refugees. Overjoyed to have found a safe haven, they do their best to help in the house. They repair, cultivate the land and plant potatoes. Grandma Nadejda has found work in Moldova and Grandpa Ivan is learning how to make wine. They have integrated well into the village community - helping to sort rubbish and compost.
CONCORDIA plays a crucial role in this, because we support the teacher with everything he needs to provide for the family. We provide him with food, hygiene products and firewood. But not only that - Sofia's mother tells us: "The support and understanding of the CONCORDIA staff are invaluable." Sofia herself was able to take part in online classes with our help and has already made some new friends at the CONCORDIA centre.
The current situation
One year after the start of the war, the situation in our project countries is mostly stable. Many people have moved on, gone back or are waiting near the border for the war to end.
However, insecurity is growing again in Moldova. After the resignation of the Moldovan government and the repeated reports of a possible attack from Russia, people in the country are nervous.
Nevertheless, people will continue to come across the border and receive shelter and support from us until the fighting ends.
We continue to provide shelter and support for arriving refugees in Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and Austria.
Information about our help for Ukrainian refugees last year
- Ongoing information on Ukraine aid
- Donations for Ukraine emergency aid