6 Dec 2022

Retreat for MDEM people in Galatí

Community Center established

Hans Buitelaar

A community center for colleagues from Ukraine has been established in Galatí. In a free standing house near the yard at the Romanian Black Sea coast, classes and a meeting space, an art and crafts space as well as rooms for practicing music are available. There is room to play outside around the house and there are provisions to cook for a group.

The opening party was held in the public library of Galatí, neighbouring the community center. A violin concert added allure to the party, together with touching speeches. More music was made, like a concert by talented Ukrainian youth. MDEM managing director Olena Zhukova thanked all the Romanian colleagues and other people from Damen that have contributed to the realisation of this community center. “Your support and welcoming during the first days of the war has been heartwarming,” she said. “Damen’s help with evacuating people, providing shelter for Ukrainians and the welcoming by the Romanian people were really moving. We will always be grateful. It is beautiful to see how Foundation ‘Damen Helpt’ also takes care of us outside of working hours. All of the help with food, housing and support is really appreciated. Now that there is even a place to meet and mingle for the Ukrainians in Galatí, inspires us to strengthen and share with the local community.”

The colleagues from Mykolayiv and other Ukrainian towns can speak their mother language and make music together. Day care for children is available and grown-ups can learn languages, mostly English. Medical care is available like help with all kinds of legal and bureaucratic issues like working permits or renting contracts. There is also help for family members of the Damen employees in finding work in the new residence. Mothers and grandmothers do handy crafts at the center. The products that they make are sold to raise money for the family that is still in Ukraine, to help them through the harsh winter. 130 families of MDEM employees live in Galatí nowadays.

Damen people in the Netherlands and other countries started a fundraiser immediately after the Russian invasion. The money they gathered will cover the cost of furniture and necessities in the community center as well of two years worth of rent.

Foundation ‘Damen Helpt’ will continue to care for Ukrainian colleagues and all other Damen people in need of help in a threatening situation. Your donation is still very much needed, please transfer to IBAN- NL43 ABNA 0109890310 attn. ‘Stichting Damen Helpt’