Wrapping up the Dignity Centre Chisinau: Reflections on our project in Moldova

The period between arrival and settlement can be extremely stressful and chaotic for people on the move.  

We arrived in Moldova just weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, when thousands of people were being displaced by the sudden and intense conflict.  

Since March 2022, the Dignity Centre Chisinau has provided consistent support for thousands of Ukrainians, as well as vulnerable Moldovans living in poverty in the wake of economic shocks caused in part by the war.  

In total, we’ve supported over 100,000 people with essential food and hygiene items. 

Now, over two years on, Ukrainian refugees are largely living in dignified accommodation and have access to all the necessary services. Having completed a rigorous needs assessment and taken volunteer feedback into account, we have ascertained that the need is being felt more profoundly by the Moldovan population. While food poverty is a clear issue in Moldova and we are glad to have supported some of those who need it most in our Chisinau Dignity Centre, it is in the long-term, beyond our remit as a refugee-focused organisation.  

Part of having a robust strategy, grounded in the principles of dignity, solidarity and community, is being clear-sighted about when and where we can be of service. Closing a project and leaving a location is critical to maintaining our focus and integrity as an organisation and to ensure that we do not create or exacerbate cycles of dependence. Our projects in Cyprus and the UK are responding to deep and urgent needs, with the potential for meaningful impact that’s aligned with our approach.  

The Dignity Centre Chisinau has now closed. We will continue to monitor trends in the region and, as a dynamic organisation, we’re always prepared to set up to support people on the move when needs arise. For now, we are working closely with our partners on the ground to ensure that people are redirected to the services they need in Moldova. All the furniture and equipment from the Dignity Centre is being donated to Moldova Film, a food distribution point that’s part of the Moldova for Peace initiative, with whom we’ve worked closely from the start and who continue to inspire us with how they mobilise to support the community. We’re also deeply grateful to Action Against Hunger, our delivery partner since November 2022. 

Furniture and decor from our Dignity Centre in their new home at Moldova Film.

Thank you to everyone who has supported this incredible project over the years. We leave with full and open hearts, an enduring love for Moldova and its people, and a sense of optimism for the future.  

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