What does it mean to "hug" a family from Ukraine?
– First of all, to open your heart. Trying to be a friend. Contribute personally to the social integration of a family, help them navigate in a store among unfamiliar products and goods, have dinner together, introduce them to your friends, go for a walk or to the cinema together, give them directions in the new environment - where they can buy a SIM card, a public transport card, where is the nearest clinic, etc., help them make an appointment with a dentist, laugh together, maybe sometimes cry too.
– You have no financial commitments to your extended family. You are not bound to provide financial or non-financial support, nor do you need to provide them with accommodation. The only thing you have to do is to be there for these people so that they can more easily integrate and feel accepted in the new environment. To know they are not alone. You are next to them. One phone call away.
What does it mean to be "embraced" by a family in Bulgaria?
– First of all, that you are no longer alone in a foreign country where you escaped from the hell of war. When you need a friend who knows the city, the language, the culture of the country, next to you will be your embraced family. Your kids can play together while you shop or just talk. There will be someone to call if you don't know where to go or how to get around. You will meet new friends. You will have support. - A close-knit family does not provide you financially, but it gives you that invaluable support that everyone needs to feel at least a little more calm and confident in an unfamiliar environment.
What does it mean when a Bulgarian family takes care of you?
- First of all, this means that you are no longer alone in a foreign country, to which you have been driven by a hellish war. If you need someone who knows the city and cultural features of Bulgaria, there will be a Bulgarian family near you who will help you. Your children will be able to play together, while you buy something or just talk. You will have someone to call if you don't know where to go and how to find the way. You meet new friends. You will have support.
- The family that cares for you will not give you financial support, but you will receive exactly that priceless support that your skin needs to feel a little calmer and safer in unfamiliar surroundings.
Anyone who wants to "hug" a family from Ukraine can sign up here:
Any Ukrainian family that wants to find moral support from a Bulgarian family can register here:
The profiles of the participating families will be analyzed and selected so that there is maximum "compatibility" and people feel comfortable communicating with each other.
The first families we select will be in Sofia and we will hold an event to introduce them and start the development of the project. The event will be on May 8, 2022. Stay tuned for details.
Why did we choose this support approach? The idea was shared by ours Polly Troyanova, who grew up in Israel. There is a practice there that over time has shown the highest results among all social programs for the integration of refugees.
Families that are socially supported integrate extremely quickly, find work, peace of mind and friends that help them go much easier through the difficult process of getting to know the culture, institutions, processes in a society they do not know. In this way, the burden that the state takes on also decreases.