Over the past two years, the SERA Romania Foundation has coordinated an extensive humanitarian consortium, bringing together 35 organizations and creating a nationwide support network that intervened to aid refugees and ensure social balance for the population in Romania. The project was made possible with the support of the global confederation CARE, which initiated substantial support in the countries with the largest influxes of refugees from the early moments of the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, such as Poland, Georgia, Romania, and the Republic of Moldova. In Romania, CARE intervened through two long-term partners: the SERA Romania Foundation and FONPC (Federation of Non-Governmental Organizations for Children), forming a humanitarian network called CARE FOR UKRAINE, which provided support to 213.167 individuals affected by the conflict over the past two years.

131.941 beneficiaries in Romania, 11,912 in the Republic of Moldova, and 69,314 in Ukraine, with 35 organizations involved.

The project brought together non-governmental organizations from across the country, allowing for geographic coverage in all key areas (borders, areas where refugee communities predominantly settled), and also established essential collaborations with state institutions, such as the General Directorates for Social Assistance and Child Protection and with other central public authorities.

“A refugee crisis of such magnitude has not affected Romania since the Second World War. On the one hand, it was an unforeseen scenario, but on the other hand, non-governmental organizations are accustomed to being in constant action, so we quickly adapted to Ukrainian beneficiaries and their needs. What this crisis brought as a beneficial evolution was the unprecedented collaboration of civil society with both local and central government, which mobilized exceptionally. In the first year of intervention, over a hundred legislative acts were developed to facilitate the legal framework, allowing Ukrainian citizens access to facilities such as free transportation, food, accommodation, social assistance, and ensuring a financial flow from the state budget to public or private bodies that intervened in this crisis. The results obtained by the SERA Romania Foundation for the dedicated intervention in Ukraine are extraordinary, and we are very proud, but more importantly, it seems to me that the entire Romanian civil society has set new standards and models of good practices for any type of crisis that may arise in the future.” – Bogdan Simion, President of the SERA Romania Foundation

The support implemented in Romania and Moldova for the refugee population is part of a broader plan by the CARE confederation to develop local social support resources. Investment was made not only in developing support programs but also in the organizational capacity of each NGO involved, so that this experience leaves behind not only a significant number of supported beneficiaries but also organizations much better prepared to react in other potential crisis situations. Alongside the SERA Romania Foundation, its 20-year partner, and FONPC – an umbrella organization with over 65 members – a multisectoral program was implemented by 35 sub-partners from Romania and from the Republic of Moldova.

“After two years of intervention for Ukraine, FONPC is making consistent efforts to draw the attention of European institutions and United Nations organizations to the long-term financial support needed by Romania because a large portion of the refugees will remain in Romania, and the budgets of non-governmental organizations will soon run out. The Romanian state has already invested millions of euros from the national budget in this project, and we greatly need support from European and international institutions so that we can continue to offer support to refugees.” Daniela Boșca – Director of FONPC (Federation of Non-Governmental Organizations for Children)

35 NGOs from Romania and the Republic of Moldova were part of the three stages of these extensive humanitarian action, spread over two years, which cumulatively received financial support of over 14 million euros. Meanwhile, support projects are closing, but in Romania, there are still over 100,000 Ukrainian citizens who need support to integrate socially.

“URGENCY is the word that characterized us during this period, but this urgency was not specific only to the last two years; let’s not forget that before the Ukrainian crisis, there was the one generated by the pandemic. Therefore, I can say that in the last 4 years, urgency has become a state of normality for DGASMB, and the COVID crisis has prepared us for the situation with Ukraine. If there is any consensus regarding the last two years, it is the fact that everyone pitched in, and that says a lot about where we stand with the democratic process and the development of public social services in Romania. This situation has sent us a signal that it is possible, and I believe that all this experience with Ukraine must be used, analyzed, studied, dissected by all of us who have been involved, by those who make public policies, to see what worked and what didn’t work to prepare us for the next crisis. We don’t know what the next crisis will be, but surely there will be one.” – Cosmina Simiean, General Director of DGASMB

On February 24, marking two years since the onset of the conflict in Ukraine, the national TV channel TVR 2 will broadcast an extensive discussion  on this topic. How has Romania changed with the onset of the conflict in Ukraine? What will happen in the long term, especially since external support for social projects dedicated to refugees is beginning to close? A discussion moderated by Valentina Băințan, TVR journalist. Among the guests: Daniela Boșca – Executive Director of FONPC, Cosmina Simiean, General Director of DGASMB, Bogdan Simion – Executive Director of the SERA Romania Foundation, Marcel Miclău, Secretary General of ANOFM.

Other figures regarding the CARE FOR UKRAINE intervention in Romania, as of February 1, 2024:

– Beneficiaries who received social assistance – 72.961

– Beneficiaries who received psychological assistance – 22.341 beneficiaries

– Beneficiaries who received medical assistance and treatment – 10.733

– Distributed food packages – 63.928

– Number of beneficiaries who received food products in Romania – 45.710

– Number of beneficiaries who received food products in Ukraine – 69.314

– Border intervention at Siret and Isaccea customs – 49.233 beneficiaries

– Total number of  Ukrainian children registered by mobile teams in Primero programme, managed by SERA Foundation with the support of ANPDCA and UNICEF – 34.351

The organizations and projects supported by CARE and implemented nationally by the SERA Romania Foundation with the support of CARE France and FONPC in the past two years include: YouHub Association, FARA Foundation, ESTUAR Foundation, CARUSEL Association, Esperando Association, Parada Foundation, AMURTEL România Association, ASSOC Baia Mare Association, AUTISM Baia Mare Association, Create Yourself Association, European Center for Legal Education and Research – ECLER, International Foundation for Child and Family „Dr. Alexandra Zugrăvescu”, Q-ARTS Association, The Social Incubator Association, Hello Children from Romania Association, ANAIS Association,  „Rădăuțiul Civic” Association, Hands Across Romania Association, Inimă de Copil Foundation, National SCOUTS Romania Organization, ALIAT for Mental Health, Society for Children and Parents, NGOs for Social Services  Federation, Club Sportiv Olimpic Snagov Association, Bethany Foundation for Social Services, Profilaxis Medical Help Foundation, Star of Hope Romania Foundation, eLiberare Association, Keystone Human Services International Moldova, Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims “Memoria” (RCTV Memoria) Moldova, Women’s Law Center Moldova, DGASPC Sector 1, DGASMB, DGASPC Sector 3, DGASPC Tulcea, DGASPC Suceava, DGASPC Maramureș, DGASPC Brașov.

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