Luxembourg families build nest for Ukrainian refugees
(The story has been corrected to reflect that Corina Darii has Moldovan origins)
The news of war breaking out in Europe shocked Corina Darii and Benjamin Cler and forced them to wonder how they could help from their home in Luxembourg.
When Cler asked if they should open their door to Ukrainian refugees, Darii volunteered through a growing Facebook group of Luxembourg families stepping up to take in strangers in trouble.
“We know that there are many refugees that will arrive at once in the country, and we know that we can help and do something,” said Darii, a business management analyst.
Darii has lived in France but has Moldovan origins and can speak a little Russian among several languages. She does not know when Ukrainian refugees will arrive at their Howald home, but she has prepared mentally as well as materially.
“We have been briefed on the Facebook group about the fact that people housing refugees should not expect a smile or a thank you, whenever we are offering something,” Darii said. “These are traumatised people who don’t necessarily speak your language, and they probably feel awkward and scared.”
The Facebook group created by LUkraine, a Luxembourg-based charity that has previously been active in helping the country, suggests making immediately available basic need like towels or sanitary products for women so that refugees don't need to ask and feel uncomfortable.
The Facebook group now with over 2,700 members coordinates volunteers who describe how many people they can house, what type of accommodation they have to offer and which languages they speak.
The Facebook group was created after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The resulting carnage has driven more than one million people from their homes and migrating across Europe, according to the United Nations.
“Today it’s Ukraine, but tomorrow, it might be Lithuania,” said Rimgaudas Greičius, who decided along with his wife to offer shelter to Ukrainian refugees just days ago. The Lithuanian, who works at the European Court of Justice, noted his home country borders Russian-ally Belarus and was once part of the shared Soviet Union.
Greičius explained that his family’s motivation to welcome the Eastern European war refugees into their Dalheim home had to do with a sense of restoring union and justice. Greičius, his wife and children are willing to welcome a mother with two to three children, he said. The family has also offered to travel about 750 kilometres and pick their guests at the German-Polish border.
“Lithuania is small in population. We are a very small country. But we are very big in our hearts,” Greičius said the family waits for an update on next steps.
Ukrainian refugees arriving in the Grand Duchy do not need to take any particular steps to stay in the country, Luxembourg's Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Thursday.
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