Welcome and Protect: JRS’s Response to the Ukraine Crisis

07 February 2023 at 12:00am

JRS staff and volunteers welcoming refugees from Ukraine in Romania. Image by Sergi Camara.

This tour has passed, however we encourage you to learn more about JRS’s efforts in Ukraine here.

Welcome and Protect:

JRS’s Response to the Ukraine Crisis

Around the world, Jesuit Refugee Service responds to new and emerging crises as well as those that have fallen from public attention. Whether in the headlines or lost on the back page, JRS accompanies those affected by crisis in places like Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela, and Ukraine.

Wherever there is a need, Jesuit Refugee Service is there.

Join us to hear from JRS staff members, Diana Haidemak, a legal counselor for JRS Romania and Olena Zinkevych, Ukrainian Team Coordinator. Diana and Olena will share stories from their work providing support to refugees from Ukraine, as well as refugees from across other parts of the world.


  • Chicago, IL
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Santa Clara, CA
  • Seattle, WA


Diana Haidemak

Diana graduated in 2017 from “Nicolae Titulescu” University in Bucharest where she studied European and International law. After graduation, Diana continued her education and received two master’s degree from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands: Public International Law – International Human Rights Law and Global Criminal Law.

Over the years, Diana has volunteered for different organizations promoting human rights. Recently, Diana was a member of the jury of the national competition for international humanitarian law and refugee law. She has been with JRS Romania since March 2021, working on the following projects:

  • Monitoring the activity and border incidents regarding migrants and asylum seekers
  • Anti-trafficking
  • Safe and inclusive education for refugee children and adolescents in Romania
  • Support services for Ukrainian refugees


Olena Zinkevych

Olena Zinkevych is a lead member of the Ukrainian team at JRS Romania. Olena graduated from Odessa National Mechnikov University in 2010 where she received a master’s degree in Foreign Economic Activity Management, studying international and Ukrainian law and economics. After graduation, Olena passed the qualification for upgrade securities depository at Odessa National Economic University.

Olena was a member Registrar of the Share Securities team, responsible for the Securities Commission in Ukraine. Additionally, she worked at Road Service in Ukraine where Olena was a lawyer in the Tender department. Afterwards, Olena received a degree in IT Project and Product Management and for 9 years, she worked in various IT companies until she founded ZONE digital agency.

Once the war broke out, Olena moved to Romania and started to help refugees from Ukraine as a volunteer with JRS Romania. She is now a full-time staff member of the JRS Romania team, where she manages the Ukrainian team and takes part in all projects to help refugees from Ukraine.

JRS Romania

In its capacity as a humanitarian, non-governmental, independent, non-profit, apolitical, democratic association, JRS Romania aims to defend, support and promote fundamental human rights, especially those of refugees. At the same time, considering the defense, support, and promotion of fundamental human rights, as well as the continuous need to adapt to the dynamic changes within society, JRS Romania contributes to the prevention and relief of suffering in all forms. This includes the protection of life and of the environment, of people in vulnerable situations, victims of human trafficking, people with disabilities, minorities, economically disadvantaged people and other people in vulnerable situations, as well as educating young people through volunteering programs.