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Refugee Protection International's work in Ukraine: Evacuations to Romania

Jennifer Hill, President and Executive Director



Featured NGO during the Opening Plenary Session, Dec. 2nd 2022

While many Romanian or diaspora aided organizations assist in aiding Ukrainian refugees once they cross into Romania, few organizations assume the risks of operating inside Ukraine. Refugee Protection International, a non-profit established in the greater Boston area has the volunteers on the ground, on both sides of the Romanian-Ukrainian border, partnering with children’s hospitals and collective centers for displaced persons and linking local charities that truly make a difference.

Since being established in late 2015, refugee-led projects have aided 404,262 conflict-affected civilians in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Romania, and Ukraine. They deliver aid and support refugee-led & grassroots partners with: project design, grants, monitoring, and technical support, as needed, to carry out essential activities in 3 program areas:

  • Protection & Self-Reliance (Evacuate civilians from war zones; Facilitate refugee access to documents to legitimize stay and access work and basic services; Support female job readiness and incentivize employer demand; Secure transitional social aid and specialized protection services),

  • Education & Health (Conduct regulated non-formal education for children and youth; Rehabilitate and stock hospitals and; mobile clinics in areas of violence; Provide health care, screenings, awareness, case management, and medical expense coverage),

  • Shelter (Secure rent-free or subsidized urban shelter for the most vulnerable; Repair war-damaged housing to accommodate IDPs, Distribute shelter materials and fuel for heating and cooking).

RPI was the first organization to organize, within days from the onset of war, the perilous evacuation from Kiev of infants requiring critical medical assistance to the Cernăuți pediatric hospital, an over 600km journey. Coordinating with emergency response partners on both sides of the Siret border with Romania, infants could be safely transferred under medical supervision, on occasion requiring helicopter airlifts to major hospitals in Bucharest or Timisoara.

We had the honor of having Jennifer Hill, the President and Executive Director of Refugee Protection International share with us their latest efforts in Ukraine. Prior to her current work with RPI she served with the IOM - The United Nations Migration Agency and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) that proved to be essential for her ability to act fast in the current refugee crisis in Ukraine. She had worked on the ground both in Chechnya/Russia, in Romania, and in Kosovo, getting to know all the local actors and gaining critical insights and expertise to act decisively when few other professionals or institutions could. She taught International Human Rights at the graduate level, she holds a master’s in education from Harvard University, where she focused on refugee education. Among her many professional accolades she is a member of Forbes Nonprofit Council.

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