For the past 20 years, Palladium has committed 1.5 percent of its profit to the company’s global giving platform. Through this platform and in partnership with the Kyeema Foundation, Palladium funds humanitarian relief efforts, supports community projects nominated by employees, and runs an annual Challenge Fund to tackle a major global problem.
Since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, immigrants began streaming over the border to nearby countries, including Poland, Slovakia, and Moldova. In the first five weeks alone, more than four million refugees from Ukraine crossed over the border and many more have been forced to move within the country. Of those refugees, nearly 2 million are children and it’s yet unclear how many are unaccompanied minors.
But what happens when refugees cross a border? Who ensures their basic needs are met and that the receiving country has the infrastructure in place to support them? In Moldova, a small country of 2.6 million, over 400,000 refugees have arrived, with over 100,000 remaining, 36 percent of which are children. Answering these questions are critical – not just for the refugees, but for the host country.
Though Moldova is currently focusing on supporting the transit of the overwhelming number of refugees to other countries, they are also drafting a longer-term strategy for refugee support. According to Meg Langley, Palladium Senior Technical Advisor and Child Protection Portfolio Lead, it’s critical to include protection and support for the psychological needs of refugee children entering the country within that strategy, both in the short and long-term.
Two organisations are already addressing and supporting Moldovan children and have now extended their work to Ukrainian refugee children. Thanks to nominations from Palladium employees, both organisations have won grants through the Palladium Humanitarian Fund to continue their important work.
Newly arrived children are at high risk for mental and psychosocial problems, from post-traumatic stress disorder to depression and anxiety. Many also have to cope with parents who are also suffering from stress-related disorders from the trauma of migration. “In addition, recent immigrants, far from the comforts of home, are at the mercy of external sources to meet their basic needs and determine their options for asylum and their next steps once they arrive, which increases vulnerability,” adds Langley.
Without the right infrastructure or social services in place to meet Ukrainian refugees’ needs, many of these families may fall through the cracks. Moldovan authorities have established 95 Refugee Accommodation Centres (RACs) across the country which have the capacity to host a total of 8,530 refugees.
With short-term accommodation needs met by RACs and in the community, it is also essential to ensure health, education and safety needs are met, and begin to think about long-term support for refugees, including housing and job placements, and working to prevent further family separation.
National Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse (CNPAC) Moldova
CNPAC is already working in Moldova on projects related to psychosocial support for children and preventing child abuse and are well-placed to step in and support Ukrainian refugees. Funding from the grant is being used to establish mobile units to assess and respond to children’s psychosocial needs at the temporary placement centres.
In addition, the mobile team will be equipped to conduct home visits to meet with families and provide practical advice for coping with a child’s distress. 90 percent of refugees in Moldova are currently hosted in the community.
The hope is that CNPAC’s work will pave the way for Child Friendly Spaces, supervised spaces specifically for children during emergencies and that serve as an interim intervention in the immediate aftermath of a family’s displacement and arrival in Moldova.
By building initial relationships with communities and providing assessments of children who may be in distress, the mobile team will be able to provide follow up support for families and children, as many will continue to face uncertainties in the coming weeks and months.
Partnerships for Every Child (P4EC) Moldova
Meeting a refugee’s basic needs for survival upon arrival in a new country is critical, but what happens next? For children traumatised by war and recent immigration, the opportunity to play and be a kid is perhaps just as important. P4EC has acknowledged this need and are addressing it by outfitting refugee centres with children’s corners where kids can play.
The organisation, which is already operating in Moldova supporting vulnerable children, is pivoting to provide their expertise and support in the refugee centres where basic supplies are desperately needed for the mostly women and children arriving in the country.
The team will use the grant to provide 3,000 hot meals and 12,000 bottles of water, along with 200 pencils, 110 toys, and 25 pieces of children’s furniture for the centres, meeting the basic needs of over 140 people for a week.
Palladium’s Data for Impact (D4I) project has worked with both Humanitarian Relief Fund recipients and they are trusted partners in the work of child protection and care. D4I started this work in 2020 and the project is also identifying gaps to further support the improvement of the availability of refugee data to strengthen the government and partner’s capability to provide better services to children.
The team will continue to partner with CNPAC and P4EC to support the child protection sector development in Moldova, relying on their expertise and serving alongside representatives from organisations on working groups established at the national level to reform the social services sector in Moldova.
Data for Impact is implemented by Palladium and supported by the United States Agency for International Development, uses data to help children by strengthening institutions like the Government of the Republic of Moldova in data-based decision making so they are better able to respond to child protection priorities. For more information, contact LMIP@kyeemafoundation.org.