MWB's Emergency Response Strategy

As war continues and the humanitarian crisis deepens, Mission Without Borders has developed a comprehensive response plan to further support all those impacted by the war, many of whom have lost everything and need ongoing help. 

The long-term presence of our staff, volunteers and partner churches in Ukraine and in Moldova, Romania and now Bulgaria, where refugees are fleeing to, means that we were already there when the crisis began, and we will continue to be there as Ukraine begins to rebuild.

Here we outline the phases of our response ...please note that the timing of each phase, and when we transition from one phase to the next, cannot be predicted as the situation is dynamic.

Emergency response - Phase 1

The emergency response phase has involved responding to urgent needs as and when they arise – as soon as Russia began its invasion on February 24 2022, MWB was there to provide aid.

Our local staff and volunteers in Ukraine – and in Moldova and Romania and now Bulgaria, countries where many refugees are fleeing – turned their attention to an urgent humanitarian crisis suddenly unfolding all around them and began helping wherever they could.

The emergency response is large-scale and involves short term interventions. Thousands of hot meals, drinks and emergency food and hygiene parcels have been distributed to refugees, along with other items such as blankets and clothing. Lifts have been provided to help refugees travel to their next destination, and shelter in people’s homes and in churches and community centres has been found for people, who often stay just one night before travelling onwards. MWB has also distributed Bibles to those people thirsty for God’s Word in the midst of such traumatic events.

Although the war has been unpredictable from the outset in its scale and intensity, MWB’s staff and volunteers’ close connections with churches, community groups and other organizations have made it possible to respond quickly to meet the needs of refugees and find solutions together with our network of contacts.

Stability phase - Phase 2

This refers to Mission Without Borders continuing to provide support to people internally displaced in Ukraine by the war and to refugee families in Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria. This phase is on a smaller scale than the emergency response, and involves closely working with families and elderly people in a more predictable way, over a longer period of time.

As these refugees settle somewhere – perhaps for six months or a year, or maybe longer – they have lost their homes, communities, jobs and support networks, and are separated from loved ones. Many will be traumatised and distraught at what they have been through, as well as feeling the financial pressure of having to meet their family’s needs.

MWB will identify refugee families and elderly people in need, and provide them with regular material, spiritual and emotional support. Although not enrolled on our family sponsorship program, these families will receive similar support: regular visits from a MWB coordinator, monthly food and hygiene parcels, and donated goods where possible – such as clothing and furniture.

The stability phase of MWB’s response recognizes that once families and elderly people in Ukraine have fled to the relatively safer west or to other countries, although they may have received emergency help along the way – hot meals and lifts from volunteers – they now have to survive from day to day, and need our ongoing support. They may be safe from conflict, but they have a new battle for survival as they try to secure jobs and build their lives again from scratch.

MWB’s regular support will take the pressure off traumatized families, help their children to feel safe and cared for, and demonstrate God’s faithfulness and compassion over time. The reliable and regular nature of our support provides families and elderly people with a sense of security, giving them a safe space where they can begin to heal. Emotional and spiritual support is key and we will look at ways of equipping our staff to best help people affected by trauma.

MWB Three-Phase Emergency Response Strategy

Rebuilding phase - Phase 3

The rebuilding phase involves working more intensely over time with a smaller group of people. The two key elements are (1) physical rebuilding and (2) re-establishing families and elderly people affected by the war.

Almost three-quarters of parents from the sponsored families we work with in Ukraine have lost their jobs since the war broke out. The World Bank predicts that Ukraine’s GDP will contract by 45% this year. For MWB, the physical rebuilding will involve repairing churches, community centres and vehicles that have sustained damage or wear and tear in the war.

And in terms of the families we support, it is about continuing to support them towards a place where they are able to meet their own financial needs and are thriving in other areas of life too. It is likely we will establish new family sponsorship and child sponsorship communities, particularly in Ukraine, and new After-School Care program locations to support refugee children who have missed out on education. Depending on how the Ukrainian authorities respond to the growing number of orphans created by the war, we may support in this area too, but this is not definite.

Rebuilding after so much loss and destruction is challenging – and we are thankful we serve a faithful God who promises to be with us every step of the way as MWB seeks to demonstrate His love in Ukraine in the years ahead.