We currently have 7 early childhood safe space in Moldova where there are anywhere between 150 to 200 children that participate in our centers every day. Through our partnerships with Ave Copiii and Greengate we have been able to open centers in Chisinau, Ciorescu, Balti and Kongaz, Gagauzia. Our spaces are created to support young children, providing educational-therapeutic services for Ukrainian refugee children. They are warm and safe spaces for young children, that have been created for children ages 2 to 8. There are older children who come and participate as well – often siblings of the younger children who are at the center.
The spaces are a framework that allows children to experience childhood again amid the chaos and trauma they have experienced. These are places where the children participate in learning and development activities, enjoy playing and talking with children and adults in their own language, express themselves through drawing and creative activities, and receive empathy and attention. It is a stable place for children even when the war continues to rage, when missiles fall on Ukrainian cities leaving them without electricity, when beloved fathers and brothers are on the frontlines and are a subject of constant concern. The women of our staff, mostly refugees from Ukraine with relevant experience, receive professional development and support in dealing with conflicts that arise. The children's space is also a basis for community-strengthening activities for the mothers – through activities organized by the space's staff like family visits to museums or hikes, and complementary services such as legal advice or language studies.