World ORT is extending support for Ukrainians through a new program for refugee women and children.

Its ongoing partnership with the Irida Women’s Center in Thessaloniki, Greece, will expand to include holistic support for more than 50 Ukrainians. The joint program will help alleviate the trauma and displacement they have experienced since Russia declared war on the country on Feb. 24.

The organization’s operations in Ukraine serve around 3,500 full-time students in seven schools, but more than half of ORT’s Ukraine school family population has left their homes with the majority seeking shelter abroad.

Approximately 30,000 Ukrainians have reached Greece—90 percent of them women and children—and ORT is now extending its partnership with the Irida Women’s Center to support them. A $16,000 grant will form part of the arrangement.

Irida’s mission is to protect, empower and support women and children with increased vulnerabilities. The global education network has been responding to the needs of ORT students, teachers and their families in Ukraine since the conflict began.

Ukrainian refugee women take Greek-language courses. Credit: Courtesy of ORT.

Irida’s Ukraine response includes a safe community space for women and children; legal counseling and protection services; psychosocial support; Greek-language classes twice per week; and a child’s safe space for children of preschool age.

With the center’s experience in working with those displaced by conflict, Irida will assist with issues including anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders, unsafe living conditions and barriers to communication.

“Our work with the center exemplifies our aim to give people the skills they need for a self-sufficient future. As this protracted, complex conflict continues, it will be vital for us all to do everything we can to give Ukrainians the practical support they require,” said Dan Green, World ORT director general and CEO.

ORT established a partnership with the Irida Women’s Center in 2021 to support Syrian and Afghan refugee women and children, as well as Africans and other nationalities fleeing to northern Greece.

Chloe E. Kousoula, Irida’s CEO and founder, said “we are grateful to receive this generous grant, which will allow us to provide critical services to Ukrainian women and children forced to flee their homes.”

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