How to Help Refugees in Moldova
This is an article dedicated to how you can support Ukrainian refugees in Moldova. We will be back later today with another update on the war and news from Moldova.
***Update - we are adding some organizations as we collaborate with them on the ground and there are many more in the comments. Please read through to see the many many organization that are under resourced but trying their best in these hard times. We will work to create a more comprehensive list of organizations soon.
Moldova’s Refugee Response
Right now Ukrainian refugees are flowing into Moldova around the clock. Over 10,000 people crossed the border last night alone and lines at many border crossings extend many many kilometers of backed up cars. Additionally, there are massive lines of individuals crossing on foot. I was at the Palanca border crossing last night delivering supplies and saw the thousands of people waiting to cross and a non-stop stream of Ukrainian cars coming from the border to Chisinau. Most refugees are women and children as men are not allowed to cross and are required to leave their loved ones at the border and return to fight.
The Moldovan government is responding heroically to this humanitarian situation and everyone’s basic needs are being met at the border and in refugee centers. However, Moldova has no equivalent of FEMA to coordinate. Currently, a working group has been formed under the Ministry of Internal Affairs called “Moldova for Peace” which is coordinating the response. Moldova for Peace is a largely volunteer run team that supports government and ministry contacts to gather information about the needs at the border points and vector supplies to where they are most needed.
On the first day of war Moldova announced it was prepared for 10,000 refugees. We have had more than that many cross in the last 12 hours. Many pass through Moldova to Romania while others have no where to go and must be settled in Moldova. There is a massive need for support right now - here’s how you can help.
First and foremost money is needed. Large international donors are preparing support in Moldova coordinated by the UN. But the majority of the work on the ground is being done by volunteer groups, NGOs, business associations, and other civil society actors. Unfortunately, Moldova has never adopted paypal, online card processing or other modern (aka early 2000s) financial systems. It is challenging to send money to NGOs directly from outside Moldova. Here are 2 groups acting as donation hubs who will be working to distribute money collected from international donations to NGOs in Moldova:
Moldova for Peace Crowdfunding Group
Follow this link to donate - information available in English (scroll to bottom)
The Moldova for Peace working group has created a crowdfunding page. They are directly collecting funds to support the efforts that they are coordinating. From their page:
How will the money be spent?
The funds will be used to cover the needs of refugees and people crossing the border during the war period: drinking water, tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, toilets, power-banks, tea, baby food, etc. A part of money will cover the costs for the functioning of the „Moldova For Peace” volunteer group (fuel travel to the border, etc.).
I personally know the team behind this page and spent most of yesterday working with Moldova for Peace. They are doing great work.
Friends of Moldova NGO
The Friends of Moldova NGO is one of many “Friends of” NGOs created by former Peace Corps Volunteers to support their former country of service. As a former volunteer myself I coordinate with the team leading Friends of Moldova and they have setup a donation page accepting paypal and debit / credit card payments. These donations will be sent to Moldovan NGOs working on the ground supporting refugee relief. Friends of Moldova is a registered US 501c3 charity. If you want to direct your donation to a specific Moldovan NGO they ask you to write it in the comments and they will try to honor these requests.
I served with many of the volunteers behind this page and will be working on the ground with them to connect to the NGOs with the most need.
Moldova World Children’s Fund
Moldova World Children’s Fund is a North Carolina-based 501C non-profit organization that has been active in Moldova for more than 20 years. Over its long history in Moldova, MWCF has implemented numerous assistance programs and infrastructure projects in health, education emergency relief and much more. In the wake of the invasion of Ukraine and the looming humanitarian crisis, they have reallocated a large portion of their resources and effort towards the refugee relief effort. They have warehouses, transportation and a team on the ground capable of implementing the assistance and are currently coordinating their efforts with the Moldovan government. They are receiving U.S. tax-deductible donations through their website at https://moldovawcf.org
/ and can also receive contributions through the North Carolina-Moldova Bilateral Partnership Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/524181444772869.
Help Ukrainian Conflict Refugees Survive Winter
Help Ukrainian Conflict Refugees Survive Winter is a relief effort organized through a U.S. NGO offering relief and assistance to Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Moldova and, where possible, inside Ukraine.
This effort is raising money to support the work of the following NGOs:
Footprint Project. Footprint Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit disaster service organization that focuses on providing cleaner energy access to communities in crisis. We work across the disaster management cycle to deploy sustainable technologies where they are needed most.
SmartAID. SmartAID is an international, not-for-profit, aid agency which uses high and basic technological systems and innovative tools to exponentially improve the efficiency of traditional humanitarian & long-term sustainable aid.
Ministry of Finance Special Donation Account
The Moldovan government has also set up a special account where you can donate directly to refugee relief. Please note that only wire transfers are possible due to the banking limitations mentioned above.
Material Donations / Volunteer Support
If you are on the ground in Moldova and are looking for ways to support there are a lot of needs for volunteers, housing for refugees and more.
Please note: the authorities ask that no one go to the border points and drop off donations without being cleared by the working group or other official representatives. There are too many people there already and it is critical to send goods to the place they are most needed.
SOS Moldova Ukraine / Moldova Facebook Group
This facebook group is working on matching of capacities to needs. They are very involved in finding housing for refugee families as well as coordinating some volunteering work. Most information is in Russian.
AIM Accepting Donations
The Moldova Small Enterprise Alliance (AIM) has begun a collection drive accepting donations for refugees. This effort is being supported by Peace Corps Moldova. Donations are being accepted and warehoused at Smokehouse restaurant and will be transmitted to organization at the direction of “Moldova for Peace” or directly to Ukrainian families staying in the city.
Diapers and things for small children
Warm clothes in good condition
Food products - nothing that needs to be cooked, refrigerated or expiring quickly
Old cell phones in working condition (families that lost phones in the crossing have already requested used units)
As the President of AIM and the owner of the restaurant that used to be Smokehouse (and is now a warehouse of donations) I can say this will all get to the right place. Peace Corps has been extremely helpful in leveraging their institutional knowledge to help AIM compile donation lists and to assure that we are gathering the right things.
There are *LOTS* of other groups including NGOs, churches and civil society groups also coordinating donations. There are far fewer options to donate online. If you know of donation options other than those in this list please add them in the comments and we will keep the list updated over time.