With the support of Japan, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency is providing the Association of People with Disabilities of the Republic of Moldova (AOSIRM) with equipment including two cars with wheelchair access, power generators, laptops, printers, and 200 hygiene kits for adults and children. This assistance helps increase the AOSIRM’s capacity to identify, reach, and support more people in need — both Moldovans and refugees alike. In this way, UNHCR’s community-based approach is designed to invest in partners like AOSIRM to sustainably support refugees, local communities, and people with disabilities.
The Association of People with Disabilities of the Republic of Moldova has a long history of advocating for more inclusive legislation, policies, and representation in governmental councils and commissions for people with disabilities. The Association also acts as the main hub for providing assistive equipment and aid for people in need. It serves not only to citizens of Moldova but also refugees from Ukraine, with UNHCR’s support.
“This equipment will encourage us even more in our planned activities to help refugees from Ukraine and our fellow citizens” Said Mihail Marginean, President of AOSIRM “Furthermore, it will improve our logistics and implementation of various planned projects. Our partnership with UNHCR helps to raise the capacity of our organization and helps us become stronger and more viable to the people that we serve”
Projects like this are guided by UNHCR’s rights-based approach to disability reflected in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, focusing on the meaningful engagement of persons with disabilities in all decisions that affect them.
“When Russia began their aggression against Ukraine, many people had to flee for their lives, and they were all vulnerable. It is easy to see that people with disabilities found it the most difficult to make the journey to safety,” said Yoichiro Yamada, Japan’s Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova. “The activities of UNHCR, together with those of the Republic of Moldova and its people, embody human conscience and compassion.”
With over USD 9M this year in contributions for UNHCR operation in the Republic of Moldova, Japan is one of UNHCR’s top donors and a key strategic ally in the refugee response in the country. The support of Japan enabled UNHCR to provide a wide range of assistance to refugees and vulnerable host communities in the Republic of Moldova. “Japan is an important partner for our investments in community capacity here in the Republic of Moldova,” said Francesca Bonelli, UNHCR Representative in the Republic of Moldova. “We continue to support groups like AOSIRM that work with both Moldovans and refugees with disabilities.”
Japan’s support for important global initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Human Security and the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, unquestionably identifies it as a key supporter of refugees and displaced people.
UNHCR actively supports the critical role played by civil society in serving refugee and host communities.
The Republic of Moldova has received more refugees from Ukraine per capita than any other country worldwide: for every three Moldovan citizens, one person from Ukraine has arrived since the war began. As of the 21st of March 2023, out of the total 791,093 arrivals, 100,366 Ukrainian refugees are currently hosted in Moldova, 60 per cent of whom are women and 46% are children.
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