Hotline Support Service Connects Refugees to Resources

Hotline Support ServiceWhen someone from Ukraine calls Keystone Moldova’s Hotline Support Service, they may be looking for food and hygiene products. They may be looking for necessary medications. They may be looking for adaptive equipment, psychological counseling, or information about accessible transformation for themselves or a family member with a disability.

One mother used the hotline to access essential medications for her two sons after the three of them left Ukraine when their house was bombed. “My sons have serious health issues and need to take their medication every day,” she said.

From February 27 to July 31, 2022, 181 people from Ukraine called the Hotline Support Service, seeking information, psychological or legal services, or referrals to other services. The 24-hour toll-free hotline has been a critical resource for refugees as they pass through or settle in Moldova for the near future.

The Hotline Support Service was originally designed as a mechanism for people with disability within Moldova to access information and tele-counseling. It also provided people with a way to report rights violations and situations where the life, safety, and integrity of people with disability was at risk. Launched in January 2017 in partnership with the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities and the Alliance of Organizations for People with Disabilities, Keystone Moldova has been the sole operator of the hotline since June 2019, contracting with the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Social Protection. As a subsidiary of Keystone Human Services and a registered non-governmental organization (NGO) in Moldova, Keystone Moldova has almost 20 years of experience in deinstitutionalization and inclusive practices, as well as developing and implementing community-based services for people with disability.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotline became a resource for people with disability living in institutions, providing them with a way to report rights violations and ensure they received equitable access to health services and protections against COVID-19. “We know we need to call the Hotline Service when our rights are violated,” said one resident. “The consultants will help us to solve our problems.”

Soon after the war in Ukraine began, Keystone Moldova expanded the hotline to make it available in three languages—Romanian, Russian, and Ukrainian—so refugees from Ukraine could call from anywhere in Moldova. When they call, they are often connected with Keystone Moldova’s Mobile Team, a medical doctor and psychological team that travels throughout Moldova providing direct support and medical assistance, including medications, medical exams, assistive devices, medical equipment, nutrition and hygiene packages, toys and educational material for children, and adapted transportation.

The war in Ukraine is ongoing and people’s needs continue to grow and change, whether they pass through Moldova or stay for the near future. Every month, more people call the hotline. You can help. Your donation to Keystone Moldova helps us meet people’s immediate needs and address the infrastructure changes that will need to happen so people can find jobs and homes and children can go to school.

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