If you are, this information is for you! You will find official information about helpful services for children and young people who have had to leave Ukraine and are now in Moldova. These services have been created to support you in these challenging times.
I’m under 18, what do I need to know about my rights here?
You are welcome in Moldova and have the right to stay in Moldova. You and your family are legally safe here. The government authorities and many local and international organizations are here to help you. You can get help with accommodation, food, transport, health and schooling for you and your family. As a child, you have special rights such as the right to stay with your family, to go to school, play and get help if you have been hurt and to have your ideas and views taken seriously.
What else should I know?
- If you have documents that show who you are – such as an ID card or passport – it’s important to keep them somewhere safe. Nobody is allowed to take these documents from you or your family, except border guards or police who will only have to take them for a short amount of time and return them to you. You can usually tell who they are because they wear an official uniform. Do not handover your identity documents to anyone to help you find an accommodation or for transport
- Help is free to all people, including women, men, and children. Nobody is allowed to make you work or ask for sexual or any other favors (things or money) in exchange for assistance or help– if anyone does this you can report them to the authorities or UNHCR and seek safe and confidential support. You can find information about how to report this here https://help.unhcr.org/moldova/reporting-fraud-and-misconduct/
- If people you don’t know well offer to take you away from your family to give you a place to stay, for work or school, tell an adult you trust and don’t accept these offers. Never agree to meet someone you don’t know alone without first talking to a trusted adult. When you need to go out of the place you are staying in, always try to go with someone you feel safe with, or in a group, and after dark always ask a trusted adult to go with you outside your home. If you are in a situation that makes you uncomfortable or are worried, you can:
- Tell someone you trust and ask for help or call the 24/7 hotline for children: 116111 📞
- You have a right to protection, care, and confidential support.
- REMEMBER that this is not your fault, and you are not to blame.
I am Ukrainian; do I need a visa to be able to stay in the country or register with the authorities?
Children and their families fleeing from Ukraine have been welcomed by all countries in the region. You are not required to present travel documents when crossing the border if you are escaping from the armed conflict in Ukraine, but you might be asked to present personal identification, so remember to bring your most important documents with you if you are able (internal passport, foreign passport, birth certificates). In many countries, you will need to register with the authorities, UNHCR or local organisations to get assistance. For more information about procedures to register in Moldova see the UNHCR site: https://help.unhcr.org/moldova/
I am a non-Ukrainian; do I need a visa to be able to stay in the country or register with the authorities?
Third country national (non-Ukrainians) children and their families fleeing Ukraine, who were permanently residing in Ukraine have 90 days from arrival to determine/adjust their legal status on the territory of Moldova.
If third country nationals (not recognized refugees in Ukraine/not married to a citizen of Ukraine) intend to travel further to one of the EU or non-EU countries they must ensure that they comply with their requirements (may include obtaining a visa, holding a valid biometric passport, etc.). If you have problems with your travel document, do not hesitate to reach out to the Embassy of your state. Citizens of third countries (not recognized as a refugee in Ukraine/not married to a citizen of Ukraine) do not benefit from the exceptions that have been introduced for Ukrainians.
You may need to present your personal documents when crossing the border and throughout the process, so remember to bring your most important documents with you if you are able (identity card, Ukrainian proof of permanent residency, passport, birth certificate).
I need help – who should I ask?
There are many organisations here to help – this includes the authorities of Moldova, local associations, and people such as border guards, police officers, social workers, psychologists, medical staff, teachers, local authorities, and specialized non-profit organisations. You can find more information about how Moldova is helping people fleeing Ukraine here https://dopomoga.gov.md/
There are so many organisations and people offering to help. How do I know who to trust?
Many people want to help and are offering support, but it is important to know who to trust. Staff working with organisations who are registered to help should wear a vest, jacket, or carry an ID card with a logo. If you are not sure, you can ask to see their ID. You have the right to refuse support from citizens or organizations if you are not sure who they are or don’t feel comfortable. It’s sometimes hard to know who to trust, so you can ask an adult you trust or who is working with organisations registered to help and has an ID. Do not hand your documents to anyone who is not working for an organization registered to help and has an ID.
You can also go to the UNHCR’s Help site for reliable information
I am in Moldova with my family. How can I make sure we stay together?
After all that you have been through, it is even more important to do everything you can to stay together with your parents or family. Simple things can help a lot. Try to travel together and find accommodation together as a family. If you are in a new place, make sure you visit it with your family or other people who know the area and you trust before going out by yourself. When you go out, tell a parent or relative or someone you trust where you are going and when you are coming back, even if you wouldn’t usually do this at home. Always keep the contact details of your family or parents with you. If you can, try to carry them with you but be careful that you don’t let strangers copy them or take them from you. Know the address where you and your family will be staying and send the details to someone you trust. Plan together for what to do if you are separated from your family-memorizing the phone number of your parents and family members and establishing a meeting point in case you become separated.
I’m staying in Moldova without my parents or family members. What kind of help can I get?
If you are in Moldova alone, or without your parents or other family members, you have the right to get help from government authorities or other organisations to find a safe place to stay and be cared for. If you are not travelling with your parents or other family members, make sure you tell the authorities, UNHCR or local organisation responsible for caring for children so that you can be provided with a safe place to stay and other assistance. You can also call the “CNFACEM” (hotline 116111) which is in charge of protecting children.
If you are travelling with your family, but not with your parents you can stay with your family. But it is important to tell the authorities, UNHCR or other organisations helping you who your parents are, where you think they are and any contact information you have for them.
If you don’t know where your parents or family are, or you have lost touch with them let us know. It’s not always easy or possible to find people who are missing, or to get families back together, but children have a right to be with their parents and family. We can help you to try to find them and get in touch with them. Organizations like the Red Cross and ICRC are specialized in restoring family links. You can find out more about ICRC services: https://www.icrc.org/en/where-we-work/europe-central-asia/ukraine/help-useful-information-affected-people
I am planning to travel in Moldova or from Moldova to EU countries. Some people/organizations are offering free transport. What shall I do?
Try to ensure that you have enough information about who you are travelling with, what route you will take, the address you will be staying and anyone else who may be there too and share that information with other trusted persons.
I feel sad, angry, worried, scared, or confused. Is this normal?
It is normal to feel upset after having to leave your country and seeing or hearing about so many terrifying things. You may have difficulty to put things that you saw or experienced out of your mind. You may be separated from people you love and worried about them or worried what will happen next. You may feel like nothing is familiar. Some simple things to try that may help you cope with this difficult situation:
- Try to keep a routine as much as possible in your new environment, such as going to sleep on time, getting up at a regular time, eating regular healthy meals, and helping around the place you are staying now
- Spend time with your family and friends doing things you enjoy together
- Helping others in your community; helping others can also help you feel better in return
- If you feel angry or overwhelmed, take a break and focus on breathing slowly for a few minutes. It can also be helpful to look for some quiet or interesting things around you, such as the sky, a tree, the sounds of birds.
- Do regular physical activities such as walking, or exercise if you can
- Keep in contact with family and friends even when you are apart. If you can’t contact them now, write a letter to give to them when you can.
- Take a break from the news sometimes and avoid disturbing photos or videos that might be circulating
- Talk to someone you trust to be a good listener about how you are feeling. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from a psychologist, counsellor, or doctor – many of these professionals are available for free through the service providers mentioned above. Participating in some organized groups to talk about your feelings with others can also help you out later.
- If you feel up to it, be a good listener to someone else. Often it doesn’t matter if we don’t know what to say, just listening and showing you understand is enough.
I want to go back to school as soon as possible. What should I do?
Every child has a right to go to school. You do not need any documents and you do not have to pay extra compared to children from Moldova. If you are not going to school right now, the first thing you need to do is get registered for school. Public schools are free. The process for registering to go to school may vary depending on the type of school. https://dopomoga.gov.md/ can offer support and information.
Someone has hurt me or someone I know, or I am afraid that they will. What should I do?
No one has the right to abuse, neglect or mistreat any child or your family – not strangers or even parents, relatives, or teachers. If someone has hurt you or touched or treated you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or scared, or if you are afraid that someone will, there are adults and organizations that can help you. If someone you know has experienced someone hurting them, encourage them to get help.
You can also develop and share a secret word or phrase to use with family and friends in case you feel in danger so that they know you are in trouble.
If you contact UNHCR, we will do our best to help you. You can also call the “CNFACEM” (hotline 116111) which is in charge of protecting children.
If you need more information or assistance, you can get in touch with UNHCR directly or contact the government hotline 0800 800 11.