Educational needs are ‘huge’ for Ukrainian refugees who have fled to Moldova

Amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis that has unfolded in the weeks since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, education advocates are working to ensure that displaced children from Ukraine are not forgotten.

More than 4.6 million people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries since the invasion began, according to data of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. They have fled mainly to Poland, as well as Romania, Hungary, Russia and Moldova, which, like Ukraine, declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Although it is one of the poorest countries in Europe, Moldova has received the equivalent of 15% of its population in a matter of weeks, with more than 415,000 people fleeing from Ukraine, according to the UN.

Many refugees have moved to other European countries, although some 100,000 currently remain in the country, according to Education Cannot Wait, the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies. Of these, 50,000 are school-age children. Only 1,800 of those children are currently enrolled in school in Moldova, the organization said.

As Moldova welcomes refugees, educational needs are “enormous” and its educational capacity is “overwhelmed” and “strained,” Yasmine Sherif, director of Education Cannot Wait, told ABC News.