As the war in Ukraine continues to escalate, 100,000 teenage volunteers are stepping up to help everyday citizens struggling to survive. The teens coordinate their activities, both in person and remotely, with help from UNICEF and the Ukrainian Volunteer Service chatbot.
Sixteen-year-old Solomiya volunteers at a train station in Lviv, providing displaced people fleeing the war with up-to-date information on train routes, departure times and ticket prices.
"When I see wounded people being carried out of the railway station, I can't believe it's really happening," she says. "What I feel is not anger, but a desire to act. I'm here from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. But I don't come every day, as I'm also studying. I'd like to come every day, but I should effectively divide my energies."
For 16-year-old Solomiya, the sight of people in need is a call to action
In her green volunteer vest, Solomiya moves quickly and confidently along the train platform, stopping to find a wheelchair for an elderly refugee, helping a worried mother purchase tickets for herself and her children, directing confused passengers to the right gate.
"Volunteering is one of the most valuable experiences I've ever had," she says. "I feel more mature and responsible, because when you help people, they don't ask how old you are, which grade you're in and what marks you have.
"The first thing I'd like to do when the war ends is to meet all my friends and have a great time, as if everything is okay and nothing has ever happened. At least for one day."
As of April 28, 2022, more than 5.4 million refugees have fled Ukraine. UNICEF is working with partners to provide urgently needed humanitarian aid to those in need. Your contribution can make a difference. Please donate.
Top photo: At a train station in Lviv, Ukraine, 16-year-old Solomiya, center, directs travelers fleeing the war. Solomiya volunteers at the station, providing information and assistance to people forced out of their homes by violence. She is one of 100,000 youth volunteers in Ukraine supported by UNICEF and the Ukrainian Volunteer Service. © UNICEF/UN0629322/Mekenzin. Video edited by Tong Su for UNICEF USA