Since the end of February 2022, more than 750,000 Ukrainian refugees have crossed the border into Moldova, which has a population of 2.5 million.
As of March 2023, approximately 107,000 refugees (roughly 4% of the population) currently remain in the country, with more arriving each day. Moldova is currently hosting more Ukrainian refugees per capita than any other country. 65% of Ukrainian refugees are women, 33% are children, and 22% are older persons. From the beginning to the end of 2023, approximately 200,000 Ukrainian refugees in Moldova will need access to a range of humanitarian services, including access to socio-economic opportunities.
As of January 2023, Moldova has provided those fleeing Ukraine with secure, legal status outside of the traditional asylum system—which has been overwhelmed since the start of the crisis, receiving over 11,000 asylum applications.
While the new legal status for Ukrainian refugees ensures access to many basic rights, it is not a guarantee of long-term legal status as the temporary protection is currently set to last for a period of one year. This decision was approved by the Moldovan government in January 2023, with the change in policy taking effect at the beginning of February 2023. Now, refugees applying for temporary protection will be able to obtain free identification documents and will be registered with the government to ensure efficient management of migration flows and improved access to accommodation, medical and educational services, and protection from abuse, exploitation, and discrimination. However, humanitarian assistance will be critical in ensuring that all refugees are able to access the care they need to thrive.
Project HOPE in Moldova
To improve access to health care for Ukrainian refugees, Project HOPE donated much-needed medicines, medical supplies, and equipment to the Ministry of Health in Moldova. This donation included:
- 86,500 insulin pens distributed to 47 primary health care facilities across the country,
- 45 Interagency Emergency Health Kits delivered to the Ministry of Health,
- 303,015 bags of IV fluids,
- 2,160 hygiene kits for the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection for distribution to refugee shelters, women and child centers, and other facilities,
- 500 sleeping pads delivered to refugee shelters in Chisinău, Balti, and Balata village, and
- 400 hospital beds including mattresses, bed linen sets, blankets, pillows, and bed covers to increase the capacity of health facilities throughout Moldova.
Project HOPE also supported an Emergency Medical Team (EMT) from Servicios de Asistencia Médica de Urgencias (SAMU), which was one of six EMTs operating in the country at the request of the Moldovan Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, and the Moldova Expo Center—which was the biggest shelter in Chisinau, Moldova from March–June 2022. SAMU’s EMT was the only team providing services to Ukrainian refugees in the city of Chișinău. This team provided emergency and ongoing medical services to 1,880 refugees, primarily Ukrainian children, women, and elderly citizens.
Moldova’s Safe Spaces for Ukrainian Refugees
The Moldova Project
In partnership with The Moldova Project, a local NGO, Project HOPE launched the “Empowering the Ukrainians Project” to increase social supports for refugee children and caregivers through mental health and psychosocial services (MHPSS). This project provides educational opportunities, support groups, and designated safe spaces and playrooms for children in Chișinău, Anenii Noi, Călărași, Cimișlia, Criuleni, and Hâncești districts. To date, Project HOPE has established nine playrooms (eight new and one renovated) and provided MHPSS services to 3,142 child refugees and 853 parents and caregivers.
Project HOPE has also awarded a grant of $117,928 to Casa Marioarei, an organization that supports survivors of domestic violence, to organize social support activities for refugees. Casa Marioarei will also provide trainings on conflict de-escalation, gender-based violence prevention, as well as job skills and livelihood trainings that aim to equip Ukrainian refugees with the skills needed to access the job market in Moldova. This program started in February 2023 and at its first event reached 37 beneficiaries at an event aiming to promote social cohesion and well-being.
Regina Pacis Foundation
Additionally, Project HOPE supports Regina Pacis, a local NGO, through a $140,165 grant for the establishment of a Holistic Assistance Center for Ukrainian refugees and vulnerable families in Moldova. This center aims to provide Ukrainian refugees and vulnerable families in Moldova with medical and psychological support, referrals to health services, access to education, asylum procedure assistance, and employment services. To date, 723 people have registered to receive assistance at this center.