Welcome Circles: Europe
In response to mass displacement from the conflict in Ukraine, HIAS Europe launched the Welcome Circles program in May 2022 to enable the community-based reception and integration of people displaced from Ukraine. Across Europe, Jewish communities have responded enthusiastically to the call, with communities in 12 countries helping Ukrainians relocate and find a way to rebuild their lives.
HIAS Welcome Circles are groups of Jewish volunteers who assist newcomers in accessing housing, education, language classes, work, social services, and other needs for a minimum of 6 months (a period that can be, and often is, extended until self-sufficiency is achieved.) Unlike traditional sponsorship programs, Welcome Circles in Europe are working with multiple families because of the large number of displaced Ukrainians. Volunteers are supported at every step by professional integration officers in each community, while HIAS ensures volunteers are vetted and offers training to ensure the best assistance possible.
Research shows that Ukrainians supported by HIAS Welcome Circles experience positive integration outcomes overall and achieve at least partial self-sufficiency. Additionally, Welcome Circles are helping Ukrainians create meaningful connections inside their new communities. Refugees and other people who are forced to flee carry with them psychological trauma and a heavy emotional burden, but the supportive networks that Welcome Circles provide can help them feel safe again and avoid isolation.
The Welcome Circle model has been so successful because it acknowledges both that refugees know their needs better than anyone else and that locals have expert knowledge on how things work in the host country, creating the best environment for Ukrainians to thrive away from home.
Oct 6, 2023
Welcome Circles in Europe for People Fleeing Ukraine
Oct 6, 2023
In response to mass displacement from Ukraine, HIAS Europe launched the Welcome Circles program in May 2022 to enable the community-based reception and integration of people displaced from Ukraine in 12 countries across Europe. This fact sheet evaluates the program’s successes, challenges, and opportunities for growth based on feedback from Welcome Circles beneficiaries, volunteers, and coordinators.