German Federal Development Minister Schulze visited the first Blue Dot hub set up for refugees at the Ukraine – Romania border

14 March 2022
German Federal Minister and UNICEF team inside Sighetu Marmatiei Blue Dot
UNICEF/Nicodim

SIGHETU MARMAȚIEI, 14 March 2022 – The German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Svenja Schulze, visited the Romanian border with Ukraine at Sighetu Marmatiei on Monday. The minister visited the first Blue Dot which offers essential services to children, women and families, set up by UNICEF in partnership with the Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities through the National Authority for the Protection of Children's Rights and Adoption and with the support of county and local authorities and NGOs.

Together with the head of Chancellery of the Romanian Prime Minister, Mircea Abrudean, the President of Maramures County, Ionel Ovidiu Bogdan, and UNICEF Representative in Romania, Pieter Bult, Federal Development Minister Schulze met with refugee children and women receiving support in the Blue Dot. The officials also went to the refugee transit camp set up at the Sighetu Marmatiei municipal stadium, where they discussed with Sighet Mayor Vasile Moldovan about the challenges arisen because of the refugee influx and ways to address them.

Millions of people have fled their homes. Around half of them are children. UNICEF's Blue Dot centers offer them an important safe space and first point of contact. I want to thank Romania and the other neighboring countries, UNICEF staff and the many helpers on the ground for their untiring efforts. UNICEF has been a partner for German development cooperation for many years now. To further support Ukraine and neighboring countries, Germany is putting together an emergency programme. A 2 million Euro share of this will be directed towards UNICEF. More support is being prepared”, said Federal Development Minister Svenja Schulze.

Romania has taken all necessary measures to facilitate safe passage and assistance to Ukrainian refugees and to deal with the massive inflow of people. The Government took several decisions to support refugees who do not ask for international protection, thus are not enrolled in the special schemes for asylum seekers. These measures relate to housing, food, transportation. Refugees benefit also from basic medical care.

As all our partners could see, there is also genuine enthusiasm from the civil society to support: voluntary activities, blood donations, just to name a few. The Government of Romania is doing its best to help the Ukrainian people in these hard times”, said Mircea Abrudean, Head of Chancellery of the Prime Minister.

"I am honored to receive in Maramures the visit of the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Svenja Schulze, which shows to us once again that Germany supports the Ukrainian people in these difficult times. I am grateful to Germany for the transport of aid that arrived at our warehouse in Halmeu to be distributed further, to the ones who are in dire need of them.

In Maramures, we mobilized from the first day of the conflict in Ukraine, and together with the partner NGOs, UNICEF, civil society and the business community, we managed to establish an organized flow of Ukrainian refugees crossing the border through the Crossing the Sighetu Marmației Border. Through the Blue Dot hub, the Mother and Child Center, the tent for waiting, all set up at the border, we cover all the needs that refugees have, from registration, identifying accommodation and transportation, to social, psychological and legal assistance. I thank to everyone involved in the support campaign for Ukraine! Together we are stronger, and we are helping the Ukrainian people to get through this tragedy!”, said the President of the Maramureș County Council, Ionel Ovidiu Bogdan.

I deeply thank the Federal Development Minister for being here today to show her support for Ukrainian refugees coming to Romania and see the work of UNICEF to protect the most vulnerable refugees, children. UNICEF is grateful to the Government of Germany for its ongoing assistance to the vulnerable children and women fleeing from the war, and for the consistent aid it is providing to refugees and refugee programmes globally. This help is critical in the strengthening of the child and social protection systems of the countries affected by this crisis”, said Pieter Bult, UNICEF Representative in Romania. “Our sincere thanks go also to the Romanian authorities, central and local, NGOs, religious cults and volunteers, for the essential work”.

Sighetu Marmației Blue Dot is the first of the Blue Dots that UNICEF is helping to set up along the border and across Romania in response to the crisis in Ukraine to provide a safety net for refugee children and ensure a continuity of services for children and women, especially to the most vulnerable such as unaccompanied minors, children with disabilities and children from residential centers. The second Blue Dot in Romania was made operational last week at the Siret border crossing after the service providers from Suceava General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection were trained in Sighet. UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities through the National Authority for the Protection of Children's Rights and Adoption, county councils, local child protection agencies, and civil society partners to establish Blue Dots at all border crossings with Ukraine, and, depending on the needs, at other locations within Romania, following the flow of children affected by the situation in Ukraine. The purpose is to “connect the (Blue) dots” to ensure all children are registered, monitored, traced, protected and will arrive safely at their destination.

UNICEF Representative in Romania, Pieter Bult, speaking at a media brifing in Sighet
UNICEF/Holerga

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