Since the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, the need for aid is now greater than ever. If the initial needs of the refugees from Ukraine arriving in Romania were related to housing and food, they now need a job to ensure their daily living. At the end of August, more than 55,000 refugees were registered in Romania trying to resume their lives in the country.
Ateliere Fără Frontiere (AFF), an association of Groupe SOS, has been among the first organizations that have opened its doors for the employment of refugees from Ukraine since March. At first, AFF provided a dozen refugees with employment services through its workshops, counseling sessions, and vocational guidance, but also information and mediation services on the labor market.
Since August 2022, in order to continue this mission and to bring help to even more refugees, AFF has started the project “Support to the self-reliance of vulnerable refugees from Ukraine” supported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), that aims to enable the self-support and integration of people from Ukraine alongside vulnerable host population in Romania.
The project consists in helping the Ukrainian refugees to find stability by guiding them in their process of entering the Romanian job market through counseling and integration. AFF also took it upon to help them in finding other needed tools and services such as:
- free Romanian language courses,
- legal assistance,
- knowing how to obtain healthcare,
- where to find out about community events
Therefore, in its first 6-month pilot phase, the project aims to support 75 Ukrainian refugees in finding the right job opportunities for them, while supporting their families.
Every aspect of the project will be documented and based on statistical evidence in order to test and scale up the successes for a follow-up phase after the 6-month pilot. A good practice guide for social enterprises working in the job integration sector is to be developed for advocacy purposes, both targeting political will and legislative actions for easing the career pathways of marginalized and excluded people in Romania.
UNHCR, is the United Nations organization for refugees that leads various international actions to protect those who are forced to flee their home countries, mostly affected by conflicts and wars. Therefore, the UNHCR’s mission is to offer the main basic necessities to people such as clean and warm shelters, food, and water as well as to ensure refugees’ fundamental human rights and develop solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future.
AFF is a non-profit, Romanian organization, affiliated with Groupe SOS. Founded in 2008, AFF’s mission is to support the most marginalized and excluded groups of people. AFF creates workshops and programs to integrate these people into the job market, and offers social and professional support, guidance, and hope to all.
The UNHCR / AFF partnership is complementary in ensuring a medium to long-term integration of vulnerable populations in Romania, starting with current refugees fleeing Ukraine. Whether Ukrainian will want to stay in Romania or will be able to go back to their home country; the project’s mission is to support them in their journey by listening to their needs and trusting their skills and projects.