Local group heading to Ukraine border to give refugees cash

BOSTON — The recently formed Cash For Refugees organization is currently doing three-team rotations in Romania. One group just got back, one group is there now, and the third just left Logan Monday. Their sole purpose hand money to refugees crossing the border.

“One woman was just like why didn’t they let my husband come with me? Why couldn’t he come with me? She was just like freaking out crying yelling,” said Semyon Dukach, a Back Bay resident. “The little kid was like it’s okay Mom. It’s all right, it’s normal.”

Cashforrefugees.org can’t meet every refugee’s needs, but starts by giving every woman seen crossing on foot with children or elderly about $100.

“It’s Romanian currency, please take it, no, it’s okay,” Dukach said explaining the conversations he has with refugees. “Yes. You really do need this just trust me. Often they cry. It’s like they don’t think of themselves as people who are homeless.”

Dukach and his wife started off booking Airbnb’s in Romania from their Back Bay home to help Ukrainian refugees, and then they decided, to just go themselves. They weren’t fitting in with the other charities, but they realized no one was handing out cash.

“We went through ATMs,” said Dukach. “We got a little bit more. We can only get a few thousand and then we hit the limits and so we flew back. I made a website on the airplane. I actually registered it on my phone through the Wi-Fi in the airplane. By the time I land that there are already donations coming in.”

Talking to us from a Romania hotel, Dukach has taken the last two weeks off work to go back and forth. The group has raised almost half a million dollars and found volunteers like Anna Furman, willing to travel on their own dime. We spoke to Furman as she boarded her flight Monday.

“We have a group of about 20 people who are rotating and we have people joining our cause every day,” said Furman of Newton. “We receive texts and emails saying you guys are doing an amazing thing. Can we join?”

It’s a cause that is near and dear to Dukach’s heart because at 11 years old, he too was once a refugee.

“You have no documents leaving the Soviet Union,” Dukach said. “You have to surrender your passport I know that we were given some cash like part of so some organization that helped us. So maybe that’s where I got the idea.”

The group is now looking to expand to multiple border crossings and is looking for donations or even help with the administration. If you would like to go, they are asking for volunteers who speak multiple languages.

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