Ukrainian children: crèches increase capacity

First protocol signed in Leiria

The capacity of crèches throughout the country is being increased in order to receive refugee children, vice-president of the Institute of Social Security Catarina Marcelino stated today.

Signing a first protocol in Leiria, she said: “Many of the refugees arriving are mothers with children and, when they are small, they have to go to crèches. So we are going to increase our capacity.”

The reason for choosing Leiria to start this initiative is that it has been one of the districts with the most requests for temporary protection from incoming Ukrainian refugees.

As of today, more than 26,000 requests have been granted, and the population of Ukrainians in Portugal is now double what it was before the Russian invasion.

“Besides welcoming refugees, we wanted to guarantee that people who arrived had a roof, food and someone to help them. From the beginning, social security and the ACM [High Commission for Migrations] created a mini-network in the country, which guarantees, with these collective spaces, an answer for 500 people who arrive and who do not have an immediate solution”, Ms Marcelino added.

She said the next steps are to integrate children and young people in kindergartens and schools, and to find jobs (for their mothers) “so that they can have autonomy and move on with their lives”.

The business community has already offered more than 27,000 jobs, she added.