A Cold, Dark Winter for the Children of Ukraine

December 28, 2022


As the war in Ukraine continues, attacks on infrastructure are destroying energy and water supply systems across the country, leaving children and their families stranded without heat, hot water or electricity this winter.

UNICEF is supporting children during this difficult time by providing families with basic essentials including winter clothes, shoes and blankets along with access to social services and financial assistance. UNICEF is also providing schools with heating systems and fuel, and delivering new heat pumps and generators to keep hospitals running.

Ukraine's children need help now to survive the long winter months ahead

"Mom wanted to go to the village so we could get warm with an oven," said 11-year-old Tymofii, who lives with his family in Bucha. "But there is a huge field in the village, so mines and shells can be hidden there. It makes me scared." During the day, his school classes are often interrupted by air raid sirens. 

Tymofii, 11, does his homework by the flickering light of a candle in Bucha, Ukraine. © UNICEF/UN0755359/Filippov

"We're going through blackouts, air alarms, rain and snow," said 15-year-old Vladyslav, whose family is struggling to make it through the winter in their summer house. Their home in Irpin was destroyed by shelling.

Despite the hardships, he's determined to keep up with his studies. "To charge a phone, we have to switch on a generator. Our teachers send us homework via Viber messenger. We do it and then send it back."


As shelling intensified last spring, Vladyslav, 15, and his family fled their home in Irpin, Ukraine. When they returned, it was gone. They are living in their summer house now, outfitted with a stove and generator. But fuel prices are rising steadily, so the family must spend the little money they have left very carefully. © UNICEF/UN0755371/Filippov

UNICEF and partners are expanding programs to save more children's lives across Ukraine

UNICEF and partners are working around the clock to expand programs to save the lives of Ukraine's children and their families. More than 280,000 children have already been provided with educational materials, while more than 1.7 million children and their families have received mental and psychosocial support. Almost 4 million people in the hardest-hit regions have received essentials including medicines. 

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Top photo: In Bucha, Ukraine, 7-year-old Varvara reads her favorite fairy tale, the story of a fox who is afraid of the spring, by candlelight. Her mother, Victoria, lights candles so Varvara and her 11-year-old brother, Tymofii, can do their homework. The war has deprived them, along with millions of children across Ukraine, of warmth, light and a happy childhood. © UNICEF/UN0755373/Filippov. Video edited by Tong Su for UNICEF USA.