One year since the invasion: Samen Hier for Ukrainians in The Hague
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine. Since then, as many as 8 million people have fled Ukraine to find a safe haven. 89.000 of them came to the Netherlands.
Temporary is becoming long-term
Arriving to the Netherlands under the ‘Temporary Protection Directive’, Ukrainian people relied on the special temporary status of their stay. For this reason, the focus initially lied primarily on having a place to stay, education for the children and a job without long-term commitment. From our own research it has become evident that now that the duration of the war has exceeded expectations and thus extending the stay of Ukrainian newcomers to an uncertain period of time, many Ukrainian newcomers risk to become socially isolated while they are starting to face the need to prioritise long-lasting plans. One of the Ukrainian newcomers who shared her experience is Viktoria:
“Now, one year later, I am starting to realise that for the time being my life will be here, and it will be very different. That is why I am opening up to making plans for the future, such as finding a stable job as well as social activities. I want to dive deeper into Dutch culture and learn the language, so that I am not here as a stranger, but as a citizen.”
Samen Hier for Ukrainians in The Hague
To bridge the gap between the temporary perspective of the practical support Ukrainian newcomers are receiving and their occurring needs to settle into Dutch society and culture, Justice & Peace sees the solution in creating connections to local communities and interpersonal contact. Therefor we are opening our initiative Samen Hier (‘Together Here’) for Ukrainian newcomers in The Hague. Samen Hier is a year-long programme that connects small groups of 3-5 residents to a refugee (family). They’ll define their goals and activities together and receive support in the form of trainings, resources, Samen Hier community events and a community builder that helps to overcome potential linguistic and cultural differences. During this year, Samen Hier groups create equal, sustainable relationships. In the past 4 years, many Samen Hier groups have exchanged experiences and knowledge, while developing mutual understanding, and sometimes friendships. As part of a Samen Hier group, many newcomers were welcomed and rooted into society.
What can you do?
At Justice & Peace we believe everyone can be a change maker.
Do you live in The Hague, and do you want to join Samen Hier Ukraine? Every resident of The Hague can participate in Samen Hier, by forming a group together with friends, neighbours or family members.
Participate in Samen Hier Ukraine in The Hague.
**Justice & Peace is also looking for partners outside The Hague to develop Samen Hier together. In the region of Haaglanden we’re looking for partners to develop Samen Hier for Ukrainian newcomers. Elsewhere we’re looking for partners to develop Samen Hier for refugees with a asylum status. Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.