Solidarity and a proactive spirit are characteristics of all the individuals and organizations that have offered aid so generously to the Ukrainians that have crossed our borders in the past few days. During these dark times, we continue to provide help to all those who need it.
It is, however, essential that the help we offer takes into account the context in which we find ourselves. International reports show that in areas of increased conflict the rate of vulnerability and the rate of infractionality increase significantly, and that includes a high increase in the percentage of people exploited and who become victims of human trafficking. This is why it is essential that we are aware that each of our actions is important and the way in which we offer help needs to be coordinated and to take into account all the potentially dangerous situations.
If you are an organization, an initiative group, or an individual mediating aid for the Ukrainian refugees in Romania, here is a list of 10 practical things you can do:
- Make sure the refugees know their rights and that they completed the legal procedure of requesting asylum in Romania.
- https://dopomoha.ro/ro – here you can find information in Romanian, Ukrainian, English and Russian
- LOGS – Social Initiatives Group is running a Call – Center (WhatsApp only) for information about asylum (Ukrainian, Romanian, English, Russian). +4.0765.861.888
- Make sure the locations where refugees will be housed are checked and that there are decent living conditions. Take into account the fact that the need for housing for an indefinite time period, therefore it may be long term. Constantly communicate with local authorities and make sure you register in the National Registry here- https://bit.ly/3K1mb3s
- Take into account the need for communication in the Ukrainian language – many of the refugees are women and children that don’t speak a second language. Also be sure you have their consent for any type of help you are offering or suggesting to them. Use accessible terms in a language they understand well.
- Recognize the signs of exploitation and encourage all those you come in contact with to also become informed. More details in Romanian, Ukrainian, English and Russian here – https://dopomoha.ro/en/stay-safe
- Establish a trust relationship by presenting yourself and the organization you reprezent, and by describing your role and the type of support you are offering. Establish a safety password with the people you are helping, a word or short phrase they can easily introduce in a conversation or a text message in case they feel in danger.
- Report any suspicion of human trafficking at TELVERDE ANITP 0800.800.678 (in Romania) or at the eLiberare Crisis Textline 0757.749.845.
- Be sensitive to cultural differences. Ukrainian citizens will need help adapting to this new context in which they find themselves, and to navigate the different situations they will encounter in Romania.
- In your public communications and social media posts keep in mind the importance of protecting the dignity of those you are helping. You can do that by editing photos to blur faces, especially children’s faces, not using their names in public posts, etc.
- Keep a constant communication with authorities and look for ways to coordinate with other local initiative groups that operate in your area or region to make sure we don’t double our efforts – together we can do more. You may find a guide here about humanitarian responses.
- Keep in mind the fact that the ukrainians that have crossed our borders have experienced major traumatic events, and their effects may appear in time. If you need help managing certain situations ASproAS – Romanian Social Workers Association is running a Call – Center for social and psychological counseling for Ukrainian refugees that are now in Romania +4.0745.139.747.