The 4th update (26 April) is available here.
"In the UK the “Homes for Ukraine Scheme” has been launched. People will be able to invite Ukrainian citizens to stay with them, even if not known to them, for a period of at least 6 months. Ukrainian citizens will be able to stay in the UK for 3 years. They will have access to health service and education, and will be able to work.
They need to be sponsored and housed by the local people. There has been a huge interest in the scheme – over 100 000 people in the UK expressed an interest in housing refugees and registered themselves on the government database. However, UK based sponsor need to know the name of the refugee/refugees to be able to invite them over and majority of local people don't know anyone in Ukraine. YMCA Europe and YMCA Ukraine are asked to facilitate making these contacts.
We are hoping to be able to support the scheme – we are well placed as we have a Russian speaker, Julija working in my project.
Update 6th. April: YMCA North Down will be providing support to the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme in a partnership with the local council. Project will be piloted for 3 months. We’ll be facilitating advocacy surgeries for Ukrainian refugees and hosting families two mornings a week.
Our YMCA has been contacted by a number of local residents who requested our help with matching them with Ukrainian refugees. I’m working with Viktor (National General Secretary YMCA Ukraine) and Adam (YMCA Europe) on this issue. The main challenges at present seem to be lack of awareness of the scheme and security screening – there have been problems with some refugees trying to abuse the system. I’ll be working on a short leaflet raising awareness of the UK scheme and giving people the overview of their rights in the UK. The leaflet will be translated into Ukrainian and Russian and distributed among refugees in Ukraine and in Poland.
Adam suggested that one of the topics of the conference (to be planned) should be issues experienced by receiving countries, eg. lack of affordable childcare, cultural differences, human trafficking and other."
Information provided by Monika Ciok-Giertuga
- Republishing the YMCA EUROPE "DONATE FOR UKRAINE" campaign on our website and on social media.
- Communication of the Campaign to our Regular Members, its translation and additionally our own text.
- Announcement at the General Assembly.
- Contact with PKM, MUNICIPALITY OF THESSALONIKI, IOM, UMHCR, RED CROSS, YMA, General Secretariat of Hellenes Abroad, Expatriate Associations from Romania, Poland, etc. in order to investigate their intentions to gather food or other goods. Coordination of the collection of items and allocation of space at HELEXPO TIF.
- In collaboration with the General Secretariat of Hellenes Abroad, hosting children of expatriates at the Mountain Camp Center in Nymfaio from 30/7 onwards or at its Camp in the 4th Camping Period.
- Lighting of the YMCA Thessaloniki building in the colors of the flag of Ukraine (cost investigation or free supply). This action can be combined with simultaneous concentration of species.
- Contacting Expatriate Associations in Romania-Poland to record their needs.
- Ongoing communication with the YMCA EUROPE working group for Refugees and the YMCA WORLD Community of Impact (CoI) for Refugees for action planning. YMCA Europe, in cooperation with all National YMCAs bordering Ukraine, is preparing a needs assessment for refugee support outside and inside Ukraine. The needs assessment will be shared with you to discuss how to contribute to addressing these needs.
- PEACE – RECONCILIATION, a project in our Kindergarten that will be made public and sent to the European Parliament.
- To devote some time for discussion to each Committee of the YMCA Thessaloniki
- The Board of Directors of YMCA Thessaloniki and the Employees' Association to make a position on the issue with humanitarian dimensions and to be published on the website and social media.
State of play 6th. April:
- Continuation and monitoring of the information and awareness campaign
- Collaboration with the Municipality of Thessaloniki, which is in contact with the Ukrainian consulate in Greece, in the campaign to collect sanitary and hygiene material for shipment to Ukraine.
- Two scholarships have already been awarded, one for a boy who has started in the YMCA Thessaloniki kindergarten, and another scholarship for his older brother who joined football classes. We have announced other scholarships that will be available to Ukrainian children to practice the activities offered by the YMCA Thessaloniki
- PEACE – RECONCILIATION, preparations for this project in our Kindergarten that will be made public and sent to the European Parliament.
Information provided by Dolores Tarrafeta
- Migration flows manifest later in Finland compared to Southern and Central Europe.
- By the end of March, approximately 14 000 Ukrainians had applied for temporary protection in Finland. Authorities don’t, however, have exact information on the
- number of the Ukrainians arriving in the country. However, the number of Ukrainian refugees is expected to be far higher, because it is possible to enter the EU countries without a visa and stay for 90 days without registration or special arrangements. The refugees that have arrived in Finland during the first weeks of the war have been, for the most part, staying with relatives and friends. Reception centres are also receiving more and more families arriving in the country. Red Cross is the main partner of the Finnish Immigration Services.
- Local YMCAs have opened their services and programmes for Ukrainians and are preparing their facilities like camp sites for the accommodation if spaces are needed at some point. Among them, Helsinki YMCA has experience in providing recreational activities for reception centres.
- YMCA Finland organised a meeting with local YMCAs to share and discuss their thoughts on the matter and to encourage initiatives on refugee work.
- YMCA Finland can adapt its funding to cover resources needed for the refugee work. New funding streams are expected to be opened by the state.
- YMCA Finland updated its fundraising license with the authorities to cover donations to both YMCAs in Ukraine, via YMCA Europe, and to our local associations offering services for Ukrainian refugees. Our web shop for fundraising was updated to support donations to Ukraine. Alternatively, donations have been made to YMCA Europe directly on social media platform by members of the community.
- YMCA Finland published a summary article on the fragile situation of YMCAs in Ukraine and the involvement of the movement not only in the surrounding countries but Europe as a whole, at the forefront of the coordination is YMCA Europe.
Information provided by Milla Mäkinen
Updates of the main actions that we are developing in YMCA Spain are:
1. Regarding the reception of refugees:
- We do not have totally reliable information on the number of people who are watching Spain, as there are many open reception channels. In any case, from the ministry and from other entities that are in the phase of first reception (first nights) they tell us that the situation is beginning to be critical, and that it is necessary to have places as soon as possible.
- On Tuesday (5th. April), the places of Salamanca were occupied. 28 people have arrived (5 single adults and 8 families, mainly women; 7 minors in total). These days we have been conducting interviews and gathering the basic information about his situation. In general, their condition is good although with the logical dislocation derived from the complicated process they are experiencing. As relevant facts we highlight that we have two deaf-mute people (sisters, we found out when we went to pick up the group in Madrid) and a child with tuberculosis, for which he is being treated.Another curious fact is that one of the first families we attended when we started the refugee program in January 2020, who was Ukrainian (parents and 5 children) and whose asylum application had been denied, has been reconsidered as a result of the conflict and can regularize their situation. Excellent news for everyone.
- The places of Zaragoza are ready and will be occupied at the beginning of next week. We have 7 homes, of which we have had to furnish and equip several in record time, for which teams of volunteers have been overturned.
2. Regarding the pilot foster care program (promoted by the Ministry in Cooperation with the La Caixa Foundation and collaborating entities; we developed the pilot only in Madrid), we have referred 207 families so far. We have already contacted many of them and have held an interview with 18 who are already about to determine their suitability for the project. The rest are in other phases of the process prior to the personal interview or have given up. We hope that the first assignments will be made shortly and we will begin to gather information on the impact of the project.
3. We are seeing an increase in demand for some programs as a result of the crisis, especially those of Spanish for foreigners or educational reinforcement. For example, in a town in Toledo we are coordinating the opening of a Spanish classroom led by three volunteers and with the collaboration of the city council
4. Regarding the fundraising campaign, we continue with the initiative aimed at individuals and we are having some response in which we have oriented towards companies. We also have responses from companies interested in hiring Ukrainian people affected by the crisis.
You can consult the information of the international actions here.
Information provided by Pedro Fueyo Diaz
- The Dutch refugee committee seeks to support local YMCAs in their refugee work. This includes the organisation of a training, meant for Dutch volunteers wanting to work with Ukrainian refugees. It also includes the information necessary to make such work possible, including contact with authorities, the municipality and taking care of the well-being of refugee youth, their parents and the volunteers trying to help them.
- Local YMCA Wassenaar has started regular youth activities with refugee youth. They also seek to include older Ukrainian youngsters to have an active part in the organisation and implementation of these youth club activities.
- Different local YMCAs in the Netherlands have made arrangements with municipal authorities to organise youth activities with refugees. This includes the local YMCAs of Zoetermeer, Zutphen and Wassenaar.
- Refugee youth will participate in the Erasmus + funded youth exchange Then, Now and Later: Together Towards a Composite Memory, which takes place in the Netherlands from April 30st to May 7th, and is organised by YMCA Netherlands and the Roots for Peace Program of YMCA Europe.
- YMCA volunteers from the Netherlands and Ukraine are still collecting materials and resources on refugee work. Their efforts intend to bring knowledge together, for all YMCAs to add to and to share. This prevents various international YMCAs to ‘invent the wheel twice’. If you want to know more. Please send an e-mail to jonathan[at]ymca.nl
Information provided by Jonathan van Varik
- The Government of Malta has committed to providing official aid to address the humanitarian needs of the people of Ukraine to help alleviate the suffering as a result of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. To address the immediate needs of the Ukrainian people, through a coordinated national effort between the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs and the Ministry for Home Affairs, National Security, and Law Enforcement, the Government of Malta will be sending six large containers with a value of over €1.15 million in medicines and medical equipment which were provided by the Ministry for Health, the Malta Chamber of Pharmacists and St. Thomas Hospital.
- Official Development Assistance Fund (local national funding) has also been dedicated to the current crisis in Ukraine – there are no calls yet but YMCA Malta can partner up with YMCA Ukraine once the calls open so that a project investment from Malta can go to YMCA Ukraine and their needs at that point in time.
- YMCA Malta has carried out media awareness about the situation and will be carrying out a football tournament to raise funds next weekend (the second weekend of April 2022). The money collected will be sent to YMCA Ukraine for their financial needs.
- We also partnered up with other local Civil Society Organisations and provided them with 40 boxes of clothes, linen and soft toys that were sent to Ukraine.
- YMCA Malta has already two shelters providing 48 beds per night to homeless people – 55% of the population we work with are always migrants and refugees. After the war emerged we initiated communication with the Government to be assisted in opening another shelter that will focus on a housing-first approach for the refugees & possible Ukraine migrants that will come to Malta.
- We set up a studio flat purposely for this cause and we have hosted already a 58-year-old Ukrainian grandmother and her 14-year old granddaughter. We assisted in providing them with the opportunity to learn English, provided them with a continuous supply of food, and helping also the grandmother to find employment. The young kid was also assisted to enter a private school for free. We also assisted their whole family (12 members in total) to be hosted by local families.
Information provided by Anthony Camilleri
In the YMCA France movement, 3 local associations have been running official support programs for refugees for many years. YMCA Le Rocheton, YMCA Villeurbanne (only young people) and UCRM. These programs are governed, granted by state and local regulations. The UCRM started receiving Ukrainian refugees.For the other two associations, this should happen very soon.
Concerning YMCA’s running tourist centres and summer camps. In France, tourist centres that wish to make their centres or rooms available must propose them to the town halls, which then allocate the refugees.
- YMCA Centre Azur is in discussion with the Town Hall to receive a grant to renovate a house to accommodate refugees.
- YMCA Camp Joubert, our Summer Camp, is in discussion with local associations to make the centre available but the rules imposed are complex.
- House of Salm. Like Camp Joubert, for the moment, it is a matter of contacting local associations that are used to accompanying refugees.
- Le Ciarus, a youth hostel in Strasbourg has already welcomed 57 refugees.
Two months ago, I was in contact with a young Ukrainian woman, Alisa, who wanted to do a civic service mission at YMCA Centre Azur. She fled Kiev and took refuge with a student friend in Rouen. I put her in touch with YMCA Le Rocheton to help her with the administrative side of things. She should go to YMCA Centre Azur to start her civic service.
Now we have administrative problems because the Government has announced that refugees can work and therefore do a civic service. But the administrative services do not “follow”. We are waiting for a specific law for this..
Information provided by Alexandra Box
New YMCA projects with/for refugees from Ukraine can be added to the YMCA Europe refugee projects database here.