2024 Project Story: Romania Transylvania

Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, one third of the population has been forced to flee the country. Many of these displaced Ukrainians have sought shelter in Romania both temporarily and permanently. Since the war began, 1.9 million refugees crossed Romania’s borders. Romania had never seen such large numbers crossing their borders.

One of the border crossings is north of a town called Baia Mare where several families decided to stay due to its closeness to the border, in hopes of returning back to their country. Currently, Romania hosts over 130,000 Ukrainian refugees and there are about 200 Ukrainian families still in the town of Baia Mare.

Local Baia Mare organizations stepped up when they saw this massive influx of people and responded with food, shelter, medical services, and transportation. Since the exodus of people, the humanitarian response has shifted from emergency response to integration. Because Ukrainians are staying longer than they had hoped, the current need is to integrate them into the local community.

HXP builders will be volunteering to help in a community center that provides psycho-social support, activities for children and teenagers, art therapy, English classes, and other activities to help integrate them. Besides working with Ukrainian refugees, HXP builders will work with the entire community of Baia Mare. Builders will have the opportunity to provide service to other vulnerable groups including those with disabilities, the elderly, and the Roma community, Romania’s largest community.

Young mothers are the most vulnerable of the Roma community. Many Romas do not attend public school and lack basic knowledge regarding parenting of young children, health, medical training, hygiene, and important life skills. There is a high fatality rate of young babies and children who do survive have followed in similar patterns as their parents receiving no formal education. HXP builders will help a local organization to provide basic educational activities, skills training, and social activities. This organization has had success enrolling children from this community in schools for the past two years and HXP’s summer program will further promote social and educational development.

All of HXP’s service in Baia Mare will be working towards the same goal of integrating disadvantaged groups into society by providing them with hope and other skills for success.