CWS Announces Launch of Program to Aid Ukrainian Roma Refugees in Moldova

November 15, 2022

New York–Church World Service proudly launched a new vital program to support inclusivity, equity and connectivity for Roma-Ukrainian refugees living in Moldova. The launch follows CWS’ recognition of the historical marginalization and mistreatment of the Roma people, and the continuation of the organization’s work to combat the injustices committed against this vulnerable population in the Balkans. 

“The short-term goal of this program is to grant people access to what they currently need. The long-term goal is to decrease the friction that exists between Roma people and their ability to access resources,” said Andrew Blakely, CWS humanitarian response leader in Moldova. “We want to have advocates in place who support Roma Ukrainian refugees’ access to the same services as other Ukrainians.” 

The program will be run in partnership with Roma Women Platform ROMNI, a national NGO whose mission is “to support the Roma minority in Moldova by helping them to access needed services, campaigning, and advocating for the protection of Roma rights, and fighting against anti-Roma discrimination.” 

The partnership program will connect Roma Ukrainian refugees to local resources, including, but not exclusive to education, health, legal services, cash assistance and housing. These connections will be made by working with cultural mediators, who are Roma women who speak Romanian, Russian and the Romani language. Cultural mediators will be present at Refugee Accommodation Centers, but also at private sites, border crossings and mobile units. 

In addition to connecting refugees with local resources, mediators will also assist Roma individuals who have experienced discrimination in their new homes. The program aims to provide assistance to at least 2,000 Ukrainian Roma refugees in the next year. 

You can support our programs in Moldova by donating to the CWS Ukraine Crisis Response Fund. CWS is tremendously grateful to The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund and other vital contributors to the CWS Ukraine Emergency Appeal for their generous support of this work.

For more information on this vital program, or to speak with Blakely, contact