Ten Ukrainian refugee families who fled their war-torn country last month have found food, solace and shelter in Kalkara, inside the premises of an international foundation that has turned its offices into apartments.

The ‘Ukrainian Families Adoption’ initiative was explained during a press conference yesterday afternoon held by the non-profit Kenup Foundation, EDU, a higher education institute in Kalkara, and Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST).

The foundation and council embarked on the initiative a few days after the start of the Ukraine war last month. All employees at the foundation’s headquarters offices in Kalkara were asked to start working from home as desks and chairs were replaced with beds and other home furnishings ahead of the arrival of refugee families.

The foundation and MCST said they did all they could to create a “home away from home” for their guests.

“The families will be allowed to stay on for as long as is necessary and are not being charged for accommodation or all the other services being provided, including regular meals provided by EsploraCafe,” they said.

Help forthcoming

Esplora is run by the MCST. Its executive chair and Kenup director, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, has been at the forefront of the initiative, working to secure the Ukraine refugees’ safe transfer and accommodation.

“It is truly heart-warming to see our guests happily settled into their home in Malta,” he said yesterday.

“Words cannot describe my appreciation for all the help that was forthcoming for this initiative and especially for the warm welcome given to these families by my team at the Malta Council for Science and Technology.”

Pullicino Orlando had made an appeal for companies to help in transforming the offices and local businesses provided everything from free flights and quarantine accommodation to furniture, appliances, sports facilities and even free GP and dental services.

Most of the manual work was carried out by volunteers and Malta Council for Science and Technology employees.

Kenup executive chairman Holm Keller thanked all those who helped provide the safe haven.

The Kenup foundation is a “non-profit public benefit foundation supporting research-based innovation in the wider health industries for societal benefit”.

It is currently working on the construction of vaccine production facilities in Rwanda and is expected to carry out projects in Senegal, Ghana and South Africa, among other countries.

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