Tag Archives: refugee

Moldovans Step Up

I am prouder than ever to have served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Moldova, whose people have been racing to assist refugees from neighboring Ukraine.

(Scroll to the end of this article to learn how you can help, too.)

Despite being one of Europe’s poorest countries, Moldova has stepped up in a big way, as you can see with some examples from places I know there:

Champa did her pre-service training in Costești, a village that has converted its tourist complex into this refugee center.

My training was in Bardar, which has opened a home for refugees.

We served together in Ialoveni, whose citizens are now working to help the refugees in various ways. This Facebook post offers them free dental services. 

We lived near Stella’s Voice, a home for young women in danger of being trafficked. They just opened their doors to several young Ukrainian women.

Ialoveni’s officials are cutting through red tape to assist the refugees, such as by quickly notarizing their travel documents.

Many of my Moldovan friends have been posting images to show their support for Ukraine.

Peace Corps Moldova has been helping, too, both as an organization and through its staff, some of whom prepared these meals for distribution.

The Friends of Moldova, a group of returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) and others, has launched a fundraiser to aid refugee support efforts, which are far more extensive than the few I’ve described here.

Ukraine RPCVs have been working on several fronts, from advocacy to fundraising, through the RPCV Alliance for Ukraine.

Amid my own outrage at Russia’s aggression, I have been inspired by the brave resistance of the Ukrainian people, and by the government and citizens of Moldova and other countries — including ours. 

There are many ways you can help as well. A good one you may not have considered is by supporting this groundswell of activity in Moldova. David Smith, an RPCV who still lives there, publishes an excellent newsletter that just listed several ways you can do this. If you, too, are outraged by what you’ve been seeing, then donate today — and please feel free to add other comments or suggestions below.

Slava Ukraini!

Top image: AP/Aurel Obreja

Refugees and My Mom

This is my mother’s passport photo taken in Berlin before escaping Nazi Germany to be warmly welcomed into the United States. You can see the swastikas on the stamp.

If the U.S. Government had banned her and she had stayed in Germany, my mother would have been murdered. You would not be reading this because I would not exist. Nor would my children and grandchildren. Instead, my mother grew up to become a proud and productive American citizen who contributed to her society in countless ways. She gave birth to my sisters and me, and we were followed by our children, their cousins and the next generation behind them.

Thanks to one of those cousins, my niece Juliana Collamer, for reminding us of this photo, which our family treasures. We have always been grateful to America. Today it is hard to feel proud of it.

#NoBanNoWall #NeverForget

Reposted from my Facebook page, http://bit.ly/2jiI9H3