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Eyes on Eastern Europe: Roma Women’s Fund (Chiricli)

A series on UUSC’s partners in Eastern Europe.
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By on July 14, 2023

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, more than 62,000 people have died, nearly 60,000 have been injured, and roughly 14 million have been displaced. UUSC immediately mobilized its resources in support of those who were impacted by the invasion, culminating in 10 partnerships with organizations in Eastern Europe. All of these organizations are committed to helping communities facing compounding forms of oppression during this conflict—meaning we focus our resources on communities already facing severe oppression even before the invasion (people of color, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, etc.). This series will highlight those partners and the work they do.

Not even the devastation of war is enough to eliminate the bigotry of those experiencing it. Roma people in Ukraine have experienced bigotry across Europe. The need to combat racial and ethnic discrimination is even more dire than before. As we join together for a world of collective liberation and justice, it is vital that bigotry and discrimination be eliminated to build global communities rooted in respect and acceptance. 

Sadly, responding to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has only exacerbated the abuse these communities have endured. On top of that, Ukraine has experienced harsh winters. The ice that forms makes transporting people and goods treacherous. That, coupled with the air raids from Russian planes imperils people even more. 

Transforming this situation is why the Roma Women’s Fund (Chiricli) was created. Chiricli was founded on November 30, 2004. Since then, Chiricli has established an office in Kiev, seven full-time staff, and 75 representatives across Ukraine. The organization was formed to provide and maintain general awareness of Roma culture and traditions in Ukraine. The hope is that increased awareness will lead to the improvement of socio-economic conditions and political standing. 

UUSC helps Chiricli advance a number of its goals. First, the grant will enable the organization to provide food to Roma community members. The aim is to provide food boxes with vitamins to Roma people with disabilities and baby food. Material needs will also be met, such as providing diapers and resources for transportation. These goods will be delivered by mini-buses, which the funding will also pay for. Also, the grant will allow Chiricli to combat misinformation and discrimination. The rest will be used to overhead costs. 

UUSC’s partnership with Chiricli continues to fight discrimination and meet the needs of those on the ground. We share their goals, their values, and their desire for peace. Interested in supporting UUSC’s partnership with Chiricili? Donate to UUSC’s Emergency Response Fund.

Image credit: Chiricli

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