Standing with Ukraine
Two of the global SDGs, Goal 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) and Goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals), emphasize the importance of strong international networks of support.
In 2022, responding to the Russian invasion to Ukraine, many local leaders have raised their voices in denouncement of Russia’s aggression and took actions to support Ukraine immediately, including fundraising, and offering support and supplies.
Yokohama has been the sister city of Odesa, Ukraine since 1965, and the city and its citizens have felt very keenly a responsibility to stand up to support its sister city and the rest of Ukraine in its time of need. From March 10th to April 11th 2022, the city of Yokohama collected 23.83 million yen (approx. 183,000 USD*) for local support donations to Ukraine and sent it to the Ukraine Red Cross.
On May 13, 2022, Yokohama Mayor Takeharu Yamanaka met with Odesa Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov to discuss the current situation in the city, including how Yokohama might be able to offer further assistance. Yamanaka was joined by two Ukranian citizens that are living in Yokohama after being forced to evacuate from Odesa.
Based on that discussion and in the face of concern from Odesa that their clean water supply could be interrupted while under attack, Yokohama sourced and delivered 33 mobile water purification units to Ukraine on July 11, 2022, to ensure a backup of clean water systems for the citzens of Odesa.
Then in November of the same year, Yokohama received a request from Odesa’s mayor for support supplying the city’s citizens with cold weather gear in the face of oncoming winter months and further attacks from Russian forces. Yokohama responded by supplying and delivering over 11,000 items to Odesa, including nearly 2000 sets of snow jackets and pants, and thousands of insole warmers.
As of April 25, 2022, 21 families and 40 refugees from Ukraine are living in Yokohama.
- On March 10th, Yokohama established a new “Yokohama City Ukraine Refugee Support Consultation Counter” accessible from the Yokohama Foreign Residents Information Center and the eleven Yokohama International Lounge locations around the city.
- On March 25th, a “Ukrainian Refugee Support Measures Team” was set up within the City of Yokohama to provide prompt response and organizational support for refugees by considering specific support measures to take within a wide range of fields, including housing, schooling, working, medical care, etc.
- From April 12, the city has been focusing fundraising and many other support efforts on supporting those who have been evacuated from Ukraine to Yokohama.
To support these families, and provide a welcoming environment for any other displaced Ukrainians forced to evacuate their own country, Yokohama has also put together an “All-Yokohama Support Package” for Ukrainian refugees living or moving into in the city. The package consists of specific support measures within a wide range of fields relevant to living in a new country, including housing, schooling, working, medical care, etc:
Support Package Details
■ Hotel Accommodation
Through the support of Yokohama Sakuragicho Washington Hotel, we are able provide temporary hotel accommodations (including 3 free meals per day) for the first few weeks after refugees come to Yokohama City.
■ Starting Off
Support will be available for various necessary procedures to starting life in a new country, including with paperwork at the ward office, opening a bank account, and obtaining a SIM card.
■ Medical Services
We plan to work to understand the medical needs of individual refugees and introduce them to the appropriate medical institutions based on their needs.
■ Cost of Living
With the cooperation of local companies (Nojima, Matsuura), a lump-sum living allowance of 200,000 yen per person and an immediate living expense of 100,000 yen per person for up to 3 months will be provided through the Yokohama YMCA, and will be dispensed to those who have been evacuated from Ukraine to Yokohama City.
■ Housing, Furniture, Home Appliances
Municipal housing will be provided through the program free of charge for 1 year. In addition, with the cooperation of companies in the city, we will support the acquisition of furniture, home appliances, Internet access, etc.
■ Daily Life
With the support of various companies and organizations around the city, the program will be able to provide daily necessities and food to those who need them. Support will also be available to those seeking employment locally.
■ Schooling / Learning Japanese
Board of Educations and ward offices will work together to support the elementary and junior high school enrollment of refugees. The school support system will include supporting the cost of purchasing school supplies necessary for preparing for admission, living school life, and the cost of school meals. Learning support will also be supplied, tailored to the child’s situation, such as lessons at the Japanese language support base facility “Himawari”. Interpreters and translators will also be available through the program.
■ Ukrainian Cafe
The Yokohama Exchange Café “Drúzi” has been established to provide hospitality and a safe space for refugees. The name Drúzi comes from the Ukrainian word Друзі, which means “Friend”. This Café will be a space where Ukrainian refugees can freely converse in their native language and interact with peace of mind, and will also serve to connect refugees with requests or needs to citizens and businesses that can help. At the opening of the café on April 28, evacuees, local Ukrainians, and Yokohama Mayor Takeharu Yamanaka joined together to converse and enjoy Borscht, a Ukrainian local dish.
*Note: Japanese Yen (JPY) is converted to US Dollar (USD): 1 USD = 130 JPY
Inquiries about this Support Package:
YOKOHAMA Foreign Residents Information Center
Yokohama’s Steps to Support Ukraine
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