A little girl paints a picture, swirling colors on the paper. Another child builds a tower with blocks. A mother sips tea and takes a moment just to breathe.

The tent in Palanca provides Ukrainian mothers and children with a safe, warm place where they can relax for a few hours before continuing on to their next destination. For some children, this is the first time they’ve played since the war began.

Since March 522 children and 377 mothers spent time in the tent in Palanca. Most stay for three to four hours before finding transportation to their next destination, whether it’s somewhere in Moldova or in a neighboring country.

Keystone Moldova has partnered with IsraAID to provide this tent. Keystone Moldova’s employees and volunteers provide non-stop support to mothers and children. We’ve been providing mental health assistance, and we recently attended a workshop focused specifically on protecting and supporting children during crises. Experts from IsraAID facilitated discussions around the emotions children go through, particularly fear and anxiety, and the assistance, interventions, and support we can provide.

Refugees aren’t the only people in need of mental health support. Although there are official refugee shelters throughout Moldova, most people are staying within temporary shelters set up by local public authorities or in people’s homes. We’re working to meet the mental health needs of Moldovan families hosting Ukrainians, too. 

As the war continues, people’s needs will grow and change. Long after people have found a place to settle, they will need access to mental health services and other services. We’re working to make sure that those services are specifically designed to include the needs of Ukrainians in Moldova.