IOCC has been in Romania since 2000, offering emergency aid and development projects that support families and children.

In Romania, IOCC has provided school supplies to children in need (left), humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees (center), and seminars (right) to prevent students from dropping out of school.

IOCC has worked in Romania since 2000, collaborating with the Romanian Orthodox Church and its social ministries. Since then, IOCC has helped those Church ministries grow as they serve families and especially children, meeting a variety of needs across the country. Romania has been central to IOCC’s Ukraine response since February 2022, with programs serving refugees and the individuals, families,
and organizations hosting them.

Emergency Response

In response to the conflict in Ukraine, IOCC has worked with long-time Romanian Orthodox Church partner Federation Filantropia to provide emergency and long-term assistance to refugees and those helping them. Work includes transporting refugees to safe accommodation, grocery vouchers for refugees, and host-family support.

In addition, IOCC offers training and certification for volunteers transporting refugees, helping prevent harm and human trafficking.

Partnering with the Romanian Orthodox Church, IOCC has supported training for social center managers, social workers, and clergy preparing them to address learning disabilities and drop-out issues. A recent project trained over 55 social workers from 23 Church agencies in dealing with various addictions, including to drugs, alcohol, smoking, and gambling, with a special emphasis on the causes and effects of digital addictions among young people.

IOCC partnered with the Romanian Orthodox Church to help communities combat HIV/AIDS and family violence. With funding from USAID, the $5.4 million project promoted responsible social behavior, especially among youth, and equipped community and religious leaders to become agents of social change. Beginning in 2005, the program educated over 2 million Romanians, including more than 2,100 priests, religion teachers, and Church staff.

IOCC funding is supporting efforts to keep children in school through counseling and social-educational activities, especially in rural and disadvantaged areas where attendance dropped dramatically with COVID-19.

IOCC has also helped bridge the digital divide for Roma children, offered learning through art and play therapy, and helped hearing-impaired children gain valuable life skills. Since 2005, IOCC has delivered nearly 100,000 school kits to Romania, including a shipment of 15,000 in 2021.

Romania: A Ukrainian Refugee’s Gratitude

Grocery vouchers to Romania’s largest supermarket chain allow Ukrainian refugees to shop for their families, tailoring the assistance to their particular situation.

“I am writing to thank you for the great help I received yesterday.…”

These are the words of Ukrainian refugee Anastasiia, who fled conflict to find safety in nearby Romania. There she met IOCC and our local Church partner, Federation Filantropia, through a program to help people like her. Anastasiia wrote an email to the team sharing what this meant to her.

“I received [vouchers] to buy food and detergents at Profi and its partner stores,” she wrote. Help like this, which IOCC provides through several of its programs, allows people to shop for exactly what they need, when they need it. This means they have independence and flexibility—something Anastasiia found valuable as she began a new life as a refugee in a new country.

“I would like to tell you how important it is for me and my family,” her note continued. “Your help means a lot to us Ukrainian people who escaped the war…. I saw about 50 families receiving their certificates and the happiness in their eyes.”

This is just one way that IOCC is meeting needs created by the conflict in Ukraine, serving people all across the region. Thanks to donor support of IOCC’s programs, Anastasiia and thousands like her know that they can provide for their families as they start over in Romania.