What word would express the beauty in giving a hand when needed better than “Solidarity”? Solidarity has a strong sense of action and the power to change realities for ourselves, and for others. There are many stories in which the lessons lead to the power of taking action, the community’s collective sense, and the importance of paying it forward. Until a while ago, I didn’t know about the possibility of writing and implementing a solidarity project in the community.
Today, we will talk about the challenges of the Ukrainian people after the war started. Also, about the involvement of Romanians in supporting Ukrainian refugees, and present an actual story that takes place in the community of Arad. What I want to express through those lines is that by actively being involved in initiatives of help, we help ourselves gain purpose and we are contributing to changing someone’s life for the better.
The Russian war on Ukraine: About Ukrainians becoming residents of Romania
The community of Arad hosts 160 000 inhabitants and since 2022, around 1000 Ukrainians as well. Arad had started to welcome Ukrainian refugees since the aggressive Russian war on Ukraine outbursted. In spring 2022, we witnessed something that confirmed how humanity works. When the Ukrainians arrived at different Romanian borders, entered cities, and needed shelter, the level of mobilization of our Romanians was unique and exemplary.
Nowadays, Ukrainian residents are part of our country’s communities. They are immersing themselves in the know-how of living in Romania, with the help of institutions, NGOs, and solitary individuals that act as volunteers on many types of services. Still, the shock and the suffering experienced by the refugees, the traumas, and the scarceness are stains that cannot be washed.
The hardness in overcoming the traumas provokes by the Russian war on Ukraine
The truth is that nobody taught them how to overcome what happened to them, or how to adapt in a different context, to react to bombing alarms, and to the news that their dearest ones were killed in the attacks. It is not fair that families and children have to seek shelter in cold basements, live without basic needs, be separated from loved ones, and lack everything that they had before.
But, they are continuously living their lives, learning by experiencing, by doing, and not giving up.
The effects of war on Ukrainian children
Two million Ukrainian children had crossed the borders of the neighboring countries, unprepared for everything that had happened to them, or what will come after. Children’s psychology is different, they can perceive war depending on their age, and state. A child psychologist for “Save the Children” said:
War suspends the children’s childhood. It’s life-changing to leave everything you know and love to see think being shut up and torn to pieces. Unfortunately, The effects of experiencing those traumatizing situations are anxiety and depression, loss of focus and memory, and confusion about what their present should look like.
About Hands – Shaping our future, a Solidarity project created for Ukrainian Children
Together with a team of 5 people from Romania, France and Ukraine hosted and accompanied by EIVA organization, a local NGO that acts upon helping the community, and joined by Fototeca, a Creative Social Enterprise, the Hands project started to take action to help the Ukrainian Children that are living in Romania, in the community of Arad. Inspired by the community acts that we’ve joined since the war started, The hands – shaping our future is an initiative founded by the European Solidarity Corps program, and managed by the Romanian National Agency.
Moreover, Our project’s objective is to offer children aged between 6 and 12 years old group inclusion activities, and learning opportunities through nonformal education, and teach them key skills and competencies through interactive workshops that will produce long-term effects on the children’s development.
What will we do? – Minimizing the gap between Ukrainian and Romanian Children
Together, we are focusing on minimizing the gap between children that come from different backgrounds. Also, we are finding ways to host inclusion, welcome them into our community, and create a space for interculturality where there are no barriers, stereotypes, or prejudices. So, We want the children to benefit from the same rights, and offer them the possibility to continue their learning in a non-formal approach, to benefit from free materials, the possibility to create, and discover new ways of evolving and adapting in a safe multicultural environment.
Creative activities within the Solidarity Project
Our project activities consist of monthly workshops focusing on diverse thematic. We believe those will be producing beneficial changes for children’s development and help them to continue their learning even in these circumstances. The learning needs of Ukrainian children that we identified include English competencies, knowledge of European values, self-development process, artistic expression, and creativity. Furthermore, The children should be able to feel like children. They should interact with each other, discover and form friendships, and get inspired to try out new opportunities.
Our hopes regarding this initiative
We hope that along with implementing this project, we will have the power to inspire others to join the voluntary services in helping those affected or at a disadvantage, to offer their help when they can make someone’s situation better, and be part of community life as active citizens. Only like this, we can make the world around us a better place. Our project will be a 12-month journey in which we will try to spread solidarity among our community. For updates regarding the solidarity project, check @hands.arad and @organizatia.eiva on Instagram and Facebook and the EIVA organization‘s website.