Help those affected by violence of war in Ukraine

Update March 23

AMURT/EL psychologist helping an autistic boy find his place of safety and calm after crossing the border

The power of art helping children deal with the trauma they've been through

After a grueling journey to flee the bombs and shelling of their homes, mothers and children arrive at the Romanian border, only to wait for days to get across.  AMURT/EL volunteers are now crossing into Ukraine to meet them and help them deal with  overwhelming stress and exhaustion. 

Thanks to your amazing support, we are also continuing training other volunteer organizations in setting up and running Child Friendly Spaces, and our team of psychologists are offering psychological first aid, not only to refugees arriving at the centers, but also for other NGO volunteers who are so deeply affected by the stories they are hearing. 

Our AMURT/EL team is providing centralized leadership for this NGO humanitarian effort, including setting up and maintaining strong oversight in protecting against child trafficking.  

We have just sent off a large shipment of solar lanterns with USB ports, to be flown to L'viv, Ukraine. When it arrives, volunteers will distribute these little beacons of hope to those most in need.  

The work continues on into the night, as the situation changes on a daily basis.  Thank you all for your help- by working together we can make a difference.  Please join us in reaching hearts and hands to our neighbors and friends escaping the horrific violence. If you can make a donation, it would be greatly appreciated. And please, share this GoFundMe link with your contacts.

Thank you. 

Finally, after the long journey and wait at the border- preparing to cross to safety. 



Update March 17th

Hi Friends,  Here is an update we received over yesterday from our team on the ground in Siret, Romania.  And it is thanks to your support this is all possible. 

In the past week our role has continued to expand. Perhaps due to our extensive background in disaster relief, AMURT/EL has been asked to assume the coordination of the overall NGO humanitarian response in Siret.  This includes helping organizations find their place, avoid duplications of efforts, and making sure needs are being met. All NGOs and volunteers register with AMURT/EL when they first arrive and then we deploy them to the area that is the best fit for what is needed and what they can provide.  This has led to a marked Increase in the effectiveness and capacity of organizations and volunteers. 

Meeting of NGO humanitarian  response teams. 

Along with the emergency trauma assessment and response,  we have been training psychologists and teachers in a new program focusing on psychological first aid.  It became clear this was something urgently needed. There are thousands of people waiting up to 5 or 6 days to cross  the border, most often without proper water, food, hygiene, or shelter, and they have been outside in the cold.   Most of those waiting are women and children, with some elderly men.  The process of fleeing Ukraine, then waiting days on the border, and finally arriving into the town is overwhelming and exhausting. 

When the refugees arrive, they are now met by people trained to offer not only shelter, food and water, but emotional support and a feeling of safety. It has made a huge difference for so many.  

And some big news for our emergency response!  Just this week we have made a connection  to safely get supplies into Ukraine itself.  With your help we are sending over cases of light-weight solar lights. These are portable and include a USB port.  With most of the electricity now cut off,  these little lanterns will be a huge help for those who must seek shelter from the artillery shelling and bombing in dark cellars. 

As people can see from what is on the news, this humanitarian crisis keeps escalating. We have no idea when things might improve, and it is clear the need for action and relief efforts will continue for months.  AMURT/EL is committed to the long haul, and we hope you will help us in this effort. 

Thank you all for your overwhelming and generous support.  The need is urgent and any help you can share is appreciated. Please forward this link to others so they might also help out. 

Update received Friday night, March 11:

We have  just received word 280 children with disabilities will soon be crossing the border. Our Psychologists are mobilizing to meet them when they arrive in Siret. With your support,  they will do everything  they can to help these kids feel safe, and begin the process of settling in. 
 
Over 5000 people are crossing the border a day, many of them mothers with small children.  The lack of food and water as they flee the fighting in Ukraine is making the journey that much more harrowing.  AMURT/EL is now filling the role of central command for the team of NGO’s, working through the night to welcome the exhausted and terrorized families and let share with them the amazing support coming in from all over the world. 

Thank you all for continuing to make this work possible. 


Melinda, one of our psychologists trained in emergency trauma response presenting a training to CFS coordinators.
 

Update received over the weekend: 

"I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures flooding the internet and TV.  Already by March 3rd, thousands of refugees have fled Ukraine, primarily women and children. Arriving to the safety of Romania, the people are traumatized, forced to flee with just the clothes on their backs, leaving behind burning buildings. The unknown fate of family and loved ones, and with no idea when they will be able to return home only adds to their overwhelming stress.

"Mama, I'm ready. I won't cry. Let's go!"

Already over 140,000 people have crossed the border so far, and 18,000 are children, like Maya, a four year old little girl who arrived with her 10 year old brother and mother today. They were taken to an improvised shelter in a hotel in Siret, where she met with Melinda, our volunteer emergency psychologist. Earlier this morning, Maya had been sheltering with her family in an underground metro station, listening to the frightening explosions and high-pitched whine of sirens outside. When suddenly the noises stopped, she put on her little jacket all by herself and turned to her mother, who was comforting her sobbing 10-year-old brother.  "Mama, now I am ready. I won't cry. Let's go!"

You can provide Maya with immediate trauma care 

You can provide safety, protection and care to Maya and the other refugee children fleeing to Romania from the bombing by supporting the establishment of at least ten Child Friendly Spaces. We urgently need your help to set them up; the earlier children like Maya and their parents  can receive safety and counseling, the more the harmful impact of such trauma can be reduced. 

 
AMURTEL already on the ground at the border

Our AMURTEL team has been busy doing direct assessments and began emergency psychological care at the border in Siret, where most of the refugees have been flooding into the country.  Maya drew this drawing of bombs and an explosion that looks like a flower as she talked with Melinda about their escape.  Her older brother also drew this one of the bombing in Kyiv. Both children were fortunate to meet with Melinda and other AMURTEL volunteers within an hour of arriving".

      


Art display made of children's drawings. Captions given by the artists and written by our volunteers. 


Earlier Post 
You can provide safety, protection and care to Ukrainian refugee children fleeing the bombs and shelling to the safety of Romania. Over 80,000 people have crossed the border so far, with about half of that number moving to other EU countries and the rest staying in Romania. Women and children are arriving traumatized, forced to flee with the clothes on their backs and to leave behind burning buildings, the unknown fate of family and loved ones, and no idea when they will be able to return home.
 
You can ensure children whose lives have been so brutally disrupted receive the opportunity to process their trauma, feel cared for and safe, and build resiliency in Child-Friendly Spaces (CFS). Drawing on extensive experience setting up CFSs in disaster situations, AMURTEL/EL is providing ‘train the trainer’ classes to fellow members of FONPC, (Federation of NGO’s working for Child Protection). We will assist in training 200 + psychologists in setting up 10 Child-Friendly Spaces. The CFSs will be in the border towns of Siret, Iași, Satu-Mare, Tulcea, București, Timișoara, Vaslui (Bârlad).
 
Once trained, these members will then train Ukrainian refugee parents and teachers to run the Child-Friendly Spaces. This ensures children are in environments where their language is spoken and provides employment for refugees.
 
AMURT/EL is putting together CFS starter packets, which will include therapeutic stories, toys, art supplies, musical instruments, sports equipment and other things that make the children feel welcome and connect with others. This weekend, an assessment team will be evaluating the needs directly at the border and planning the best way to support the efforts.
 
As this heartbreaking situation continues, AMURT/El is working with various agencies on resettling refugees across Poland and Romania. Funds raised will be also be used to provide food, shelter and clothing for those fleeing Ukraine. Already one family is on the way to stay in AMURTEL Romania’s farmhouse this week.
 
Thank you in advance for giving this crucial opportunity to children who are so vulnerable at this critical time. We are praying this situation will end soon, but in the meantime, we are all wanting to do the best we can for our friends and neighbors in Ukraine.
 
Please forward this appeal to friends who would like to help the people of Ukraine, and check back regularly for further updates and photos.
 
More information about Amurtel: The mission of AMURTEL is to provide immediate and long-term relief to women and children in need in a manner that improves their overall quality of life. If women have access to education, health care, economic reliance, and a voice to determine their progress, then this will, in turn, be reflected in the improved welfare of their children and community.
 
 
 
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