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Fondo sociale europeo Plus

Lending a helping hand to refugees from Ukraine in Bulgaria

(c) European Union

This video tells the story of Marina, a Ukrainian mother of two, who fled the Russian invasion of Ukraine and received material support to build her new life in Bulgaria – thanks to a project funded by the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD).  

Critical, fast support  

To ensure material support quickly and easily, since September 2022 the Social Assistance Agency has been providing vouchers to displaced people from Ukraine, residing in Bulgaria, that can help them with their food and basic material needs. The funding of €2.25 million is provided through the Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe (REACT-EU) scheme. 

Each worth €51, vouchers can be used to buy food, clothes, shoes, food, children's clothes, school supplies, hygiene materials and other necessities. Goods can be purchased from any retail outlet and store in Bulgaria – even in the smallest towns – making them available to all refugees, regardless of where they have settled in the country. With the aim of giving immediate help to those who need it most, priority was given to the urgent needs of children and their parents, guardians, companions, trustees or other authorised persons with whom the children are placed under the Child Protection Act.  

By the end of February 2023, nearly 40 000 people had benefitted from the scheme. Some refugees identified as having higher levels of need received a second voucher. 

Extra assistance for building a new life 

The project also extended assistance to the Ukrainians through accompanying measures. This included counselling on labour, social security and health rights. Furthermore, guidance on accessing medical services, social benefits and other types of specialised services has been provided for working-age people, helping them to either find and sustain employment or ensuring they had a certification of incapacity to work from medical authorities.    

As shown in this video, displaced people from Ukraine such as Marina and her family have, thanks to EU funding, received the critical assistance needed to help overcome the difficulties of daily life as refugees and integrate into society.  

Project details 

Project name: 'Provision of vouchers for the provision of food and basic necessities to displaced persons from Ukraine'

Country: Bulgaria 

Project start: September 2022 

Project end: July 2023 

Organisation: Social Assistance Agency; International cooperation, programmes and European integration Department – Managing Authority of FEAD (2014-2020) and the ESF+ Food and Basic material assistance programme 2021-2027 

Total budget: EUR 2.25 million