Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is partnering with IsraAID to assist Ukrainian refugees in Moldova and Romania as well as internally displaced persons (IDPs) inside Ukraine in a two-year collaboration at a value of over 1.5 million US dollars.
The collaboration includes projects providing psychosocial care for children and mothers who have escaped war-torn Ukraine to Moldova, including seven child-friendly spaces (CFSs) in Chișinău and Palanca and community centers for psychosocial support to children and mothers in Chișinău, as well as a humanitarian logistics hub in Tulcea, Romania, for transport of food, medical materials, and other life-saving materials to IDPs, hospitals and communities in Ukraine’s southern and eastern parts.
At the Sunflower Center in Chișinău, IsraAID is working together with Federaţia Familiilor pentru Unificare și Pace în Lume din Moldova to provide enrichment and much-needed psychosocial support to children and mothers from Ukraine. The center holds music and performative art classes and handicraft classes for school-age children, providing education and therapy through playing, as well as toddler activities. While the children play, their mothers can attend moderated support groups and activities such as stretching and yoga, which help relieve stress and provide methods for dealing with trauma. Apart from providing funding, IsraAID has also trained teachers at the center in trauma care and psychosocial support for children and adults. Tzu Chi is considering providing additional support through volunteer visits, free medical care activities, and online class content for children and mothers.
The Tulcea Humanitarian Logistics Hub in Tulcea, Romania, is the only humanitarian warehouse with a verified supply chain delivering urgent aid directly to southern Ukraine. The hub is run by IsraAID and the Romulus T. Weatherman Foundation in cooperation with several local organizations including ACoR-Tulcea and Tulcea County Council. As of May 25, the hub had dispatched more than five hundred truckloads of medicines, medical equipment, food stuffs, and other urgently needed materials to south and east Ukraine, including Odesa, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia, and even Kharkiv, working with over fifty NGOs, hospitals, and civil organizations. Using a QR code tracking system and a network of trusted organizations in Ukraine, the hub is able to verify the receipt and distribution of the goods with unprecedented accuracy, ensuring that aid donations end up exactly where they are intended. With the additional support from Tzu Chi, the hub is working to expand its capacity from 10 truckloads per day to reach 250 truckloads per week in the near future, allowing it to become a major center for shipments from large organizations into Ukraine.
Yotam Polizer, IsraAID’s Global CEO, said: “The Ukraine displacement crisis is one of the most significant humanitarian challenges facing the world today. More than 6.7 million Ukrainians have fled the country since February 24th, with a further 7 million displaced internally. IsraAID has been responding to this crisis since the very beginning, and thanks to this new collaboration with the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation we will be able to reach more people in urgent need across the region. We are honored and grateful to Tzu Chi for their partnership and shared commitment to providing vital humanitarian relief.”
“Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is excited to partner with IsraAID to provide necessities and medical items to those fleeing from Ukraine, and safeguard the physical and psychosocial wellbeing of the refugee communities. We have faith that this partnership between IsraAID and Tzu Chi will support those affected by the crisis through a holistic and integrative approach,” said Po-Wen Yen, CEO of Tzu Chi Foundation.
IsraAID is Israel’s leading non-governmental humanitarian aid organization. From earthquakes and hurricanes to epidemics and forced displacement, IsraAID has been at the forefront of responding to major humanitarian crises worldwide since 2001. IsraAID has worked in more than 55 countries and at any one time has around 300 staff members worldwide. For more information, visit IsraAID.org.
The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is a global non-profit humanitarian organization founded in 1966 by a Buddhist nun named Dharma Master Cheng Yen in Taiwan. Its missions of medicine, charity, education, and humanistic culture have brought relief to 127 countries and counting. The heart of Tzu Chi is embedded in its name: in Chinese, “tzu” means compassion and “chi,” relief. Apart from its partnership with IsraAID, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is also active in Poland, where the organization is distributing 45,000 gift and cash cards to refugees displaced by the conflict as well as in-kind materials including blankets and food.
Tzu Chi has entered partnerships and collaboration agreements for assistance to Ukrainian refugees and IDPs with UNICEF, the Camillian Disaster Service International Foundation, and the Polish Women Can Foundation. For more information, visit tzuchi.org.