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Nicolina Humanitarian and Social Assistance Centre

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The Romanian Municipality of Iași, in partnership with 4 NGOs, established the Nicolina Humanitarian and Social Assistance Centre. This is a pilot project that provides non-stop assistance - in the form of a 'one-stop shop' - to those displaced from Ukraine crossing into Romania via its northern border.

The centre's services include: accommodation (with capacity for 200 people) and meals; a pet shelter; in-kind support according to individual needs (including the 'RoUa' second-hand shop); information and counselling; support for access to temporary protection permits and identification; health services; social services; a kindergarten and a school; jobs for parents; interpretation/translation in relation to authorities and other service providers; non-formal education for children (via the 'Navigator Academy' for those aged 3 – 7 years old and after-school services for those enrolled in the educational system); support for pregnant women, mothers and babies; psychological support; social and community integration activities.

Project Goal

Those displaced from Ukraine arriving in Romania are usually in need of logistical, financial and service support, as well as coordination on the part of relevant authorities and NGOs working at the borders. The goal of the Nicolina Centre is to respond to these needs, in a way that is sensitive to those in high social and psychological distress, ensuring that they can be both assessed for referral and given access to necessary services in the same place.

How it works

The Nicolina Centre is the first of its kind in Romania where management is shared between 4 NGOs (as well as a municipality). Each carries out specific tasks according to its area of expertise:

The Municipality of Iași provided a building of 4 000 sqm, covers the budget for utilities and maintenance, and employs 7 people (social workers, nurse and cleaning personnel).

The Federation of NGOs for Social Services designed the project's model of intervention and ensures the overall management of the centre. It is also responsible for the communication with and lobbying of relevant authorities for the improvement of social services and related policies and legislation.

The Afterhills Association is in charge of logistical support and the management of new arrivals, as well as providing translation/interpretation for residents and service recipients.

The ParentIS Association provides psychologcial health and parenting support, as well as the 'Care Practice' – a programme of advice and care support for mothers and children.

The Grupul Zambetul Nostru Association runs activities with children. These are educational (including Romanian & English language training), social and leisure.

Service recipients are mainly referred to the centre by authorities or other NGOs, and some reach it via their own informal networks. On arrival, they are assessed and provided with the services they need. All are entitled to access the RoUa shop twice a month, by appointment, and payment is via a system of virtual credits.


In its first year, 55 430 displaced persons from Ukraine accessed at least two types of service at the centre. 40.23% of these received humanitarian assistance (accommodation; meals; in-kind and financial support) and 59.7% received social, psychological and employment support, educational services and accompaniment with health service access. Approximately 23% of residents are categorised as 'highly vulnerable': those who are elderly, those with disabilities, and those who are chronically ill. Specific numbers of those accessing services include:

  • 1 234 people (both adults and children) accessed educational services (language training; pre- and after-school programmes);
  • Over 1 500 people benefited from health services;
  • 3 800 people (adults and children) accessed psychological services.

In this year the total amount spent was approximately EUR 1 450 000.


The centre has been evaluated internally, via its partnership with UNHCR, and was praised by the Romanian Government's department for emergency situations, which described it as “…the most comprehensive refugee support centre in the country and an accelerator of integration”.

Who benefits

People displaced from Ukraine arriving in Romania are the direct beneficiaries of the project. The Nicolina Centre is, furthermore, a model of intervention in social emergency and early integration, and can be replicated elsewhere in situations of conflict, natural disaster, pandemic etc. where a high number of people is affected or displaced.

Funding and resources

About this good practice


Original source
Posted by
Luciana Lazarescu
Country Coordinator

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