Since we set up in March 2022, we have served over 50,000 Ukrainians in our Dignity Centre in Chisnau, Moldova.
But last week we stopped serving Ukrainian refugees and started serving Moldovan households. We will continue to do so for 5 consecutive weeks until 7 April.
This was one of the conditions of our grant from our funding partner there Action Against Hunger. We were very happy to do agree.
Even before the war, Moldova was struggling economically. It is one of the reasons we went to help there. Since the war it has faced increased security threats, the arrival of almost 800,000 refugees with 100,000 who have remained, trade disruptions, an inflation rate of 30%+ in 2022, and a severe energy crisis.
The cost of this has fallen most heavily on poor Moldovan households.
Our partner Moldova for Peace working with Chisinau Social Welfare has identified a cohort of 300 households comprising 1,200 people who are particularly vulnerable and they will each get the opportunity to shop once a week at the Centre.
© Elisa Bernal Arellano for Action Against Hunger
The effects of the war in Ukraine have been felt across the world. Outside of Ukraine, it is probably Moldova that has suffered the most. By supporting them as well as their Ukrainian residents we can show solidarity with everyone affected.
The shopping behaviour is quite different. The Moldovan households are much more likely to take Cookery basics, rice and pasta. The Ukrainian households much more likely to take milk, juice and snacks.
Ukrainian members of the Centre were disappointed that their service was suspended and this provoked a huge outpouring of support for what we do on our Google Maps listing! But they also understand.
We will re-open to both communities in April but in the meantime, those 300 Moldovan households are getting some valuable and caring support from our wonderful team of volunteers.