We have refugees headed here now who have no ties

Stanislava Benešová

Over 170,000 Ukrainian refugees have already been granted special visas in the Czech Republic. According to the estimates of the Ministry of the Interior, more than 250 thousand people have arrived here, and according to the data of mobile operators, even 270 thousand people. The newcomers still need accommodation. Non-profit organizations are looking for volunteers with both Ukrainian and Russian knowledge to help Ukrainians with the authorities.

Charita ČR, a non-profit organization, has helped in the Regional Assistance Centres since the beginning of the Russian invasion. Here it provided interpreters, volunteers, counseling, and crisis assistance.

While the refugees from the first waves had to arrange accommodation through friends, the new arrivals had to be helped with housing by the state or NGOs. “In the first waves, people left Ukraine as a preventive measure. New arrivals were leaving places where there were shootings. They were pushing to get on trains. They often had to leave their pets on the way. “It’s a more difficult situation for them,” Boumova, Charita ČR coordinator, said. She added that trauma is also experienced by Ukrainians who have lived in the Czech Republic for a long time and are under pressure to help as assistants or interpreters.

Volunteers are needed

Non-profit associations are feeling the shortage of interpreters as well. According to Boumová, financial and material assistance is still needed. “It is necessary that material collections are precisely targeted. It is best to inquire at refugee facilities whether they need clothes, food, hygiene items, and other things, “she advises.

She added that none of the charity’s staff had encountered a refugee who did not want to return to Ukraine after the end of the conflict.

“This applies to the war in Ukraine and foreigners who settle in the Czech Republic from other countries. They all dream of returning home in their old age, but this is not always realistic,” Boumová said.