The war waged by Russia against the Ukrainian people is a terrible thing. But how do we talk about it when it is so difficult to even imagine a positive outcome. Following discussions with our partners in Kyiv, The Cultural Hub, we spent the week in Bucharest and in Brașov talking with refugees from Ukraine as well as with activists from Romania and other countries in Eastern Europe to start to map out the questions that come from the war in Ukraine...
You can see all the questions raised on our online whiteboard with the prime questions set out below, everything from considering how we respond to the refugee emergency, to considering who is telling the truth.
We visited one of the 50 refugee centres in Bucharest, talking to the staff and volunteers who work there:
"We just make it up as we go along. We are just a transit station. People want to go on to somewhere but the UK is not in the EU and it is complicated. Nobody really understands what is needed. We only have €5 a day to feed people. No-one knows what is going to happen so it is not possible to plan. I had a breakdown after a couple of weeks. "
"I came here from Odessa so I could do something useful. I work in the power industry and there is nothing to do now and they didn't need any more volunteers there. I came here for 2 weeks but I am staying another month.Last week we thought about closing down but now there is another wave of refugees. Poor people now. People who have nowhere to go and can only do low paid work because of the language difference..."
And at another refugee centre in Brașov:
I was up 'til 3.30am welcoming the last refugee to the Centre so excuse me if I am tired. We have 74 refugees from Ukraine here today and there is a good buzz in the Centre. It is important to make sure people have things to do so we organise games for the children, English lessons, yoga sessions. There are even 13 employers here today offering work to people. But the war, my question—How do we make sure this never happens again?
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