So far we have been spared. None of our Houzies has family in the Ukraine. Further, our developers in Romania, Dumitru and Nicolae, are quite far from the Ukrainian border. However, the invasion by the Russian army has shocked us all. Like many, we were appalled on the 24th of February and tried to help. Our UX designer Julia collected aid material for refugees on the Polish-Ukrainian border with her Polish friends in Zurich, our copywriter Roger transferred the social percentage of his writing workshop to three aid organisations and many Houzies donated privately for emergency aid in Ukraine and for people fleeing. In this article we summarise how we can all help.
Since the Russian invasion, millions of Ukrainians have fled. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that more than 10 million people have left their homes, turnt upside down, without possessions. It is said that a third of them have fled abroad and are now looking for a new home in Europe. Also in our country. The Confederation expects 35,000 to 50,000 Ukrainian refugees by June 2022, the cantons even estimate 250,000 to 300,000 people. They are granted S-protection status without a regular asylum procedure, as soon as they have entered and registered in a federal asylum centre. This entitles them to stay and join their families, to work and to apply for social or medical assistance. In the first phase, mainly Ukrainians who have family or friends in Switzerland and have found accommodation with them entered the country.
Refugees without contacts in Switzerland are accommodated in a federal asylum centre and assisted by the State Secretariat for Migration SEM. The federal asylum centres have several thousand places to live and sleep. This is not enough. Fortunately, many people in Switzerland show solidarity and offer the refugees a roof over their heads. The Swiss Refugee Council coordinates all private offers of help, including host families for Ukrainian refugees. To this end, SRC has published an online form with the citizens' organisation Campax, which you can use to register refugee accommodation. Among other issues, you can ask who should live with you. Indicate on the form whether you prefer to accommodate a family, a mother with children or individuals. No one will be assigned to you without your consent.
Your data will be collected in a database that can only be accessed by refugee aid workers and assistants in federal asylum centres. In the case of a meeting, you will first be contacted to clarify any open questions and to arrange a get-to-know-you meeting between you and your hosts, if time permits. If everyone agrees, the host family and guests receive a written confirmation with the host family's contact information and an agreement regulating the legal situation. With the confirmation, refugees receive transport vouchers and are allowed to leave the asylum centre. Shortly after your hosts have moved in, someone from the canton or a humanitarian organisation will contact you for an interview. This person will take care of the refugees.
Your guests have left home and may have lost family members or friends. Everyone deals with it differently. Talking helps some, others withdraw. Be respectful of your guests and do not push them to do anything. If your guests want to participate in family life, that's wonderful, if they prefer to be left alone, that's fine too. Talk openly with your guests and don't set strict limits. As in any shared flat, your relationship with your guests needs to develop - and sometimes you may have to turn a blind eye or two. Especially in the first months, a host family is invaluable for refugees because they feel welcome in their new home and integrate more quickly. And if there is still some tension, the contact person in the canton or the humanitarian organisation will be happy to mediate.
Many Swiss relief organisations are collecting money for emergency aid in Ukraine. On the national Swiss Solidarity collection day alone (9 March 2022), the Swiss population donated CHF 51,547,615 for medicines and relief supplies. That's a lot of money, but only a drop in the ocean. So support the humanitarian organisation that is closest to you. This is a small selection of reputable organisations that urgently need donations to help:
Gli ucraini e le ucraine in fuga ricevono lo status di protezione S se entrano nel paese e si registrano. Questo permette loro di lavorare in Svizzera. Molti di loro sono ben istruiti e parlano inglese o tedesco. Se avete offerte di lavoro nella vostra azienda, potete pubblicarle sulla nuova piattaforma Job Aid Ukraine oltre alle solite piattaforme di lavoro. Si tratta di un'iniziativa tedesca, ma nel frattempo vengono pubblicizzati anche posti di lavoro in Svizzera. Nei vostri annunci di lavoro (in inglese o in ucraino), sottolineate che gli ucraini e le ucraine dovrebbero candidarsi.