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On The Ground With Ukrainian Refugee Relief – Friends of Moldova Interview

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This week on The Jimmy Tingle Show, I sat down and talked with Bartosz Gawarecki, President of The Friends of Moldova about Ukraine Refugee Relief.

The Friends of Moldova is an organization of Return Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV), whose mission is to support Moldovan civil and youth activists, initiatives, and social entrepreneurs.

Moldova, Ukraine’s neighbor, has opened its home to Ukrainian refugees as their connections with the many organizations and people in Moldova have put them in a position to significantly contribute to this disaster.

Friends of Moldova are collaborating with Peace Corps Moldova as well as local Moldovan and RPCV businesses and NGOs to support Ukrainian refugees. At the request of the Moldovan community leaders, they have organized this fundraiser to aid refugee support efforts.

#WeStandWithUkraine #Ukraine #StandWithUkraine

Topics discussed in this episode include:

  • How Jimmy got involved with Friends of Moldova. (00:45)
  • The day-to-day operations of giving aide and support to Ukrainian Refugees. (02:05)
  • The Moldovan experience when war broke out in Ukraine. (03:00)
  • A little history into the Ukraine-Russia conflict. (04:00)
  • How the communities of Moldova stepped up to help out. (05:40)

Donate to Friends of Moldova – Ukraine Refugee Relief – When you donate, there is a place to add “Your email & target organization”. Tell them the Jimmy Tingle Show sent you

Moldovan President Maia Sandu’s Havard Kennedy School Commencement Speech

Connect with The Friends of Moldova

For more information on all things Jimmy Tingle

Transcript – Please note, this Transcript is AI Generated. It has not had the discerning ears of a real human to edit it, as such, there are bound to be a few errors

Bartosz Gawarecki 0:00
Yeah, my name is Bart Tosca Paretsky for president from the friends of Moldova, but titles don’t matter. I’m just a person that wants to make a difference in the world.

Jimmy Tingle 0:13
Hello, everybody, this is Jimmy, welcome to today’s show. We have a wonderful show for you today a very informative show, but a very serious topic. My guest today is Bartos. Gabreski is the president of the Friends of Moldova, Moldova borders Ukraine, the western border of Ukraine, and for those of you who are regular listeners to the program, or regular subscribers to my newsletter, you know, for the last few months, we’ve been promoting the Friends of Moldova as a way to help Ukrainian refugees. The way I got involved is that when I went to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, one of my classmates, Maia Sandu, is now the president of the country of Moldova. And I reached out to her at the beginning of the war in Ukraine and asked her how could Americans help and what she suggested is that we reach out and contribute in any way we can monetarily or otherwise to the Friends of Moldova, an organization of return Peace Corps volunteers, whose mission is to support the Moldova and civil and youth activist initiatives and social entrepreneurs. Moldova, Ukraine’s neighbor has opened its home to Ukrainian refugees. At the request of the Moldova and community leaders. We have organized this ongoing fundraiser to aid refugee support efforts. And the website for them is the friends of moldova.com. And all this will be in our show notes today. And please welcome to the show. My guest joining us directly from Moldova. He’s one of the agency’s headquarters there relief organization headquarters there in Moldova. Please welcome Mr. Bartos Gavin offski. And I hope I pronounced that correct part of today, of course, Guevara CKY. This close, it’s great to see you. Thank you so much for joining us, you are at one of the distribution centers now.

Bartosz Gawarecki 2:08
Yes. So I’m at one of the distribution centers that gives out food to Ukrainian families every single day, Monday through Friday. And we serve the entire north of Moldova. So we have Ukrainians that come in, and they register with us. And we have volunteers that walk them through our center, and they pick out the food and hygiene products and clothes that they need. That will last them for two weeks. But we also distribute food and products to mayor’s offices, NGOs and other refugee centers and the entire north of Moldova. So we’re serving a relatively large area of Moldova.

Jimmy Tingle 2:49
And you have been the president of this organization for how long Bartos for three years? How is it going there? How is the distribution going in terms of the refugees? Are they getting what they need.

Bartosz Gawarecki 3:03
So at the very beginning, when the workforce broke out, it was a huge mess, it was kind of a scramble. And we worked with local businesses and NGOs to try and get whatever we could on the ground. Now things have are relatively stabilized as far as the logistics go. But of course, there’s always a need. Things are very unpredictable. And so there are waves of Ukrainians that come in and out. And there’s always a need for support for food and hygiene products. And the there’s a difficulty because the Madhavan government has done a very excellent job. And they’ve really done their best in supporting the Ukrainians, but NGOs and just local communities have had to take on the vast probably 70% of the burden or 80% of the burden. And so we’re trying to fill that nervous gap through our efforts.

Jimmy Tingle 4:01
And for those of you who are not familiar with Moldova, it was once part of the Soviet Union. And they gained independence in 1991. And they’re striving to maintain that independence as well. They have a heavy Russian influence in Moldova, over the years, not as much now as they used to have. But it is the poorest country in Europe right now. So the government is doing as well as they possibly can do. But as Bartos just indicated, most have a large part of their funding to help with refugees to keep the society afloat, to just deliver goods and services to the people of that country. Again, the poorest country in Europe is coming from NGOs, nonprofits, donations from Europe and are in around the world and of course, the United States. So our goal today is just to raise the profile of the kind Tree of Moldova raised the profile of the Friends of Moldova. Most of them are former Peace Corps volunteers, including my guest today, who was the president of the organization. And what we’re trying to do is just to motivate people to contribute financially to help this organization stay afloat, and just deliver most effectively the goods and services that people need literally to survive. I imagine when the war first started, that you were just overrun and surprised by this incoming wave of people with no place to go.

Bartosz Gawarecki 5:37
There were stories of you know, just people that had whatever they had in their hands and their cars that they had that would show up at the border when the war broke out on February 24. You know, the next day, there are people already showing up at the border. And Moldova is a small country. And it’s the poorest country in Europe. But it has a an enormous heart that has a huge heart. And before the large organizations and the large donors, and before the government could step in, it was like the individual people and communities and NGOs that just in churches as well that stepped up to the plate and started helping out in any way they could. And ever since it’s took off, and things are changing by the day, we had. I mean, to put it in perspective, you have a country of just three, maybe three and a half million people that’s that have had close to half a million people, or if not more come in through their borders. I mean, that’s the one point there were one in six children in Moldova were Ukrainian refugees.

Jimmy Tingle 6:40
That’s incredible. And they were already the poorest country in Europe. So you add a half a million people to the population. And you can just imagine folks what that must be like. So again, we are just here today to raise the profile of your organization, and ask people, my listeners and people listening to this podcast to be as generous as possible. I know there are other organizations there as well, as I said earlier, when I reached out to the president via email simply because she’s a former classmate at the Kennedy School, and I said, Oh, my God, there’s got to be something that we can do here. And she indicated, please help this organization. By the way, my son, who recently was the commencement speaker at Harvard, and the link to her speech at the Kennedy School of Government, to the graduates of the 2020 21. And 22. class will be in the show notes as well. And you can see her unlikely rise to the presidency, primarily fighting corruption in the country of Moldova, that was formerly a satellite country of the Soviet Union, and a member of the Soviet Union. And now they are the poorest country in Europe, and they are fighting for their independence. That’s what they’re trying to do. They’re trying in right now trying to join the European Union. And that is still in the process. Because if they’re able to join an organization like the European Union, they will have support from obviously other European countries, and they won’t be out there by themselves. But right now, they’re out there by themselves, doing the best they can inundated with refugees. Again, you add 500,000 people to that population, who are showing up with the clothes on their back and what they are carrying in their hands. You can imagine the challenges that they have Bartos, I don’t want to keep you long. I know you’ve had a long day there. I know you’re at the center right now. Just so you know, to our listeners, the shows that I’m doing this summer, starting on June 19. At the Windover in Rockport, Massachusetts. We’re doing a meet and greet after the show all proceeds from that to go to the Friends of Moldova. I’m doing the same thing with my show on July 16. At the music hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, we’re also doing a meet and greet there. All proceeds from that meet and greet are going to the Friends of Moldova as well, humor for humanity, the social enterprise that we started, the chief sponsor of this particular podcast is also donating proceeds from the shows that I’ve been doing the last couple of months. So we’re trying on our end humor for humanity to make the contributions that we can we invite you to join us to make these contributions. There’ll be a link in the show notes right there. You can contribute right online, right to the website, the friends of moldova.com and you can donate right there. You can read up on the organization, you can see that their heart is in the right place. They’ve dedicated a large portion of their lives and careers to helping other people in war torn countries in general, but specifically for this particular incident in the country of Moldova, a Bartos thank you so much for your Time today, we just want you to know that the American people are behind you. And we’re going to do everything we can to help. And like the people of Moldova, that’s what we aspire for is peace as well.

Bartosz Gawarecki 10:12
I just want to say thank you so much for having me on your show, Jimmy. Yeah, my name is Bartos Gretzky from the president from the friends of Moldova. But titles don’t matter. I’m just a person that wants to make a difference in the world. And I want to give a huge thank you to the American people, and anybody that’s helped out with the Friends of Moldova already. And I just want to give a big thank you to those that will because you are, even though every single donation, it goes a very long way. The prices that you see in the US are not what they are here at $1 goes a very long way. I also want to say that our organization is purely voluntary. When you look at large development organizations there, they have a lot of admin costs, our like in our budget 97% or more goes directly towards the effort. So it’s just going towards like things like food, you know, rice, flour, wheat, cereal, milk and stuff like this. So your dollar will go a very long way when you donate to the principal door. But I also want to get for everyone to know that the Ukrainian people, they see you, they hear you and they are so thankful for the support, you have no idea how much the support means it’s more than about the money. It’s about morale, it’s about the humanity, it’s about the fact that people see them suffering and pain before actually doing something about it. And so we want to be an instrument of that love of that help to help bring peace and love them to into this world and whatever way we can. So thank you so much.

Jimmy Tingle 11:52
Thank you so much for your great service and for your very moving and passionate words. And we will rest assured we will do all we can do to make your organization as successful as it can be under these extremely difficult times. Thank you so much. Patos is great to meet you virtually. And keep the faith brother. Keep the Faith we’re behind you.

Bartosz Gawarecki 12:13
Thank you. Thank you so much.

Jimmy Tingle 12:15
Thank you for joining us today. This has been a humor for humanity production. Our mission is your mission humor for humanity. Jimmy tingle.com Thank you

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