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Groupe SOS Praised by Ukraine for its Commitment to Refugees Since the Start of the Invasion

29 January 2024 • NEWS

Since the onset of the conflict in Ukraine in early 2022, Groupe SOS has been at the forefront of humanitarian efforts, providing essential support and care to refugees displaced by the crisis. Recognised for their dedication, the teams of Groupe SOS have not only offered immediate shelter and protection but also facilitated the integration of refugees into their host communities. Through a range of comprehensive services, from accommodation solutions to mental health support and employment assistance, Groupe SOS exemplifies a compassionate and effective response to one of the most pressing humanitarian emergencies of our time.

Groupe SOS Praised by Ukraine for its Commitment to Refugees Since the Start of the Invasion

Almost two years ago, the teams of Groupe SOS responded to the humanitarian emergency, mobilising volunteers and professionals to welcome refugees from Ukraine with dignity.

On Friday, January 19, the Ambassador of Ukraine to France, Vadym Omelchenko, awarded the title of Knight of the National Order of Merit of Ukraine to Jean-Marc Borello, President of Groupe SOS. This distinction highlights the exceptional commitment of the Groupe SOS teams in support of Ukrainian refugees since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine nearly 2 years ago, in February 2022.

 

Groupe SOS Committed to Welcoming Refugees

From the beginning of the war in Ukraine in 2022, its teams immediately mobilised to provide accommodation solutions for refugees from Ukraine.

In 2022 and 2023, 15 emergency housing facilities for Ukrainian refugees were implemented, providing over 3,000 places in 9 regions: in Ile de France, PACA, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Loire-Atlantique, Eure, Calvados, Seine-Maritime, Occitanie, and Hauts-de-France.

Furthermore, Groupe SOS developed housing solutions in the private sector for a total of 622 places, which allow for continued comprehensive support of individuals with the prospect of sliding leases.

 

Welcoming and Integrating with Dignity

Each individual welcomed into a facility managed by Groupe SOS immediately receives temporary protection and is supported by social work professionals in accessing their social rights. Special attention is given to health, with prompt care and health services.

At Groupe SOS, a dignified welcome involves offering extensive, personalised support to address both immediate and long-term needs, aimed at overcoming key obstacles to social and professional integration in France.

This includes:

  • Facilitating learning of basic French through workshops;
  • Ensuring close follow-up of children’s schooling near their living places;
  • Guaranteeing systematic mental health support by health professionals;
  • Creating bridges between the employment world and the welcomed individuals through training programs or job dating;
  • Deploying childcare solutions, especially for single mothers.

In Romania, our affiliate NGO Ateliere Fara Frontiere (AFF) actively supports Ukrainian refugees with programs for self-support. This includes helping them access the labor market, organising Romanian language courses, and providing legal assistance. AFF also coordinates community workshops and activities, supports language course logistics, and uses social media to promote employment opportunities, all to aid refugees in their integration and empowerment journey.

 

A United Effort at Groupe SOS

Groupe SOS wishes to express its gratitude for the dedication of its teams, as well as for all partners who have responded and made it possible to offer quality accommodation to the welcomed individuals.

Today, this commitment is recognised and honored by the awarding of the title of Knight of the National Order of Merit of Ukraine. This distinction underlines the ongoing involvement of Groupe SOS in welcoming and supporting Ukrainian refugees and is an official recognition of the efforts made since the start of the war.

 

 

Groupe SOS continues to broaden its impact, shifting from job integration for Ukrainian refugees via Ateliere Fara Frontiere (AFF) in Romania, to fostering long-term economic growth in Ukraine through initiatives in the solidarity and social economy. This forward-looking strategy aims to empower communities and ensure sustainable development amidst challenging times.

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