On February 28th, 2022, Mary Katharine Hunt and Chris Hardy sat down to talk about the impact of the invasion of Ukraine with Alina Magdaliuc, the National Director of the Moldovan arm of JMI.
The JMI team in Moldova, a staff of about 40, jumped in head first to support refugees as they started entering the country late last week – just days, if not hours, after the initial invasion of Ukraine began. Moldova shares a border with Ukraine, making it a primary destination for citizens fleeing the country. A large portion of that border is currently held by Russian forces, but Moldova still is receiving large populations of refugees.
Right now, the number of refugees coming into Moldova is rapidly increasing, and that number isn’t expected to decrease anytime soon. “We didn’t have much time, we just had to jump into helping,” said Alina. JMI has been able to provide beds, food, generators, heaters, bedding, fuel, and more to different churches and organizations that have made it their mission to serve the ever increasing needs of the refugee population in Moldova. According to Alina, many of the churches were unprepared to accept refugees, but JMI was able to fill in the gap and provide the tools necessary to care for people coming across the border.
As teenagers grapple with the reality of the neighboring war, JMI staff are serving as psychologists and counselors. JMI Moldova staff are working to get in contact with program Alumni who went to work and live in the Ukraine. The war is not distant to Moldova, it is incredibly close and personal. Men aged 18-60 are not able to leave Ukraine. Children in our programming and staff have family and loved ones stuck, unable to escape the violence. The countries are close, both in geography, but also population and culture.
When asked about the morale of the Moldovan staff, Alina said that they are doing well and that she is extremely proud of the staff and the Moldovan people. Our staff in Moldova is leading the charge to serve not only the refugee population but the vulnerable children, teens, and families already in our programming. As our staff works to provide for refugees, our vulnerable children are not forgotten. As our team continues to evaluate the realities of the situation hour by hour and our work continues to provide for the needs of these children, teens, and families.
As inflation increases, it becomes harder and harder to do work in Moldova. The reality is that things will likely become much more difficult before they get easier. As the rate of inflation continues to rise, even carrying out our existing programming has become extremely expensive. As we seek to provide for the vulnerable populations entering Moldova, we remain committed to caring for the vulnerable already in our care.
Through the Heart for Moldova Fund, we are able to not only provide for refugees but also continue our existing programming. In times of war and conflict, the vulnerable only become more exposed to poverty, exploitation, and violence. JMI is doing everything in its power to provide for refugees as they escape Ukraine and limit the effects of the war on the already vulnerable populations of Moldova.
JMI is uniquely situated in a way that many other organizations aren’t. Because of our local and indigenous staff, we have boots on the ground able to provide direct aid to those impacted by the invasion of Ukraine. We are incredibly blessed to have our staff in Moldova that is working day and night to be the hands and feet of the Church, seeking out ways to help refugees and the vulnerable. We will not stop the work that God has set before us. As we continue working in Moldova, we cannot do it without you.
When you make a gift to the Heart for Moldova Fund, you are providing for the tangible needs of sponsored children, refugees, and other vulnerable populations in Moldova. We pray that God will continue to provide the financial support we need to continue our programming. We pray that you would come alongside us to alleviate the hurt of an evermore war-torn nation.