Librarians trained to give emotional support to Ukrainian refugees

Fifteen librarians from Moldova will attend specialized courses to develop skills to communicate with Ukrainian refugees in their communities, both grownups and children. Together with two doctors specialized in trauma treatment, the librarians will learn to better manage the interaction with refugees. The courses are organized at the National Library by the Association of Librarians of the Republic of Moldova in partnership with Progress Foundation of Romania, IPN reports.

National Library director Elena Pintilei told a news conference that the librarians will learn a new skill. “The initiatives implemented by the libraries and librarians are a response to the refugee crisis. As in other crisis situations, the librarians in the Republic of Moldova took a number of measures to support as many people who flee from the war as possible. The given project will support the psychological adjustment and the development of librarians’ skills in the interaction with refugees. The community of librarians supports democracy, peace, the freedom of expression, creating a context for inclusive culture,” stated Elena Pintilei.

She also said that the National Library recently hired a library director from Ukraine. This is the third refugee woman who works at the Library. “They adjusted well and we have efficient communication. We discuss very often and realize that they suffer an advanced psychological and emotional trauma. But these three female librarians found a family here, at the National Library. I’m glad that we manage to support them financially and primarily psychologically here, at the Library,” noted Elena Pintilei.

Matei Stanciugelu, of Progress Foundation Romania, said their NGO has over 15 years’ experience of work with libraries and develops the skills of these. “We undertook this project and established a partnership with the Association of Librarians of the Republic of Moldova so as to develop new skills in librarians who deal with Ukrainian refugees. As a result of research, we determined that a lot of refugees use the services provided by public libraries in order to develop a normality framework. They look for a place in which to feel again like at home. Surely, the librarians already have capacities to offer them a normality framework but given the conflict zone from which these refugees come, librarians informed us that specialty training is needed so that they could devote special attention to persons who experience trauma due to the war,” stated Matei Stanciugelu.

Claudia Năsăudean, a specialist in pediatric psychiatry, said that there is a need to know aspects that can emerge and methods of intervention when one comes into contact with refugee children and teens.

Vladimir Nică, a psychiatrist, noted that they want to help as they have experience of work with Ukrainian refugees who came to Romania and know how to deal with their situations and can share this experience.

The project “Emotional Adjustment for Ukrainian Refugees, a public library service” is implemented by Progress Foundation Romania in partnership with the Association of Librarians of the Republic of Moldova in the framework of the sub-granting program “Building CSO Capacity for Regional Cooperation within the Black Sea Region” for January 2022 – December 2022, which is implemented by the Romanian Non-Governmental Development Organizations Platform FOND and is financed by the European Union.

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