UNICEF in Ukraine
A look at some of the ways UNICEF is supporting children and families impacted by the war in Ukraine.
On the ground in Ukraine since 1997, UNICEF has stayed to provide critical support and humanitarian assistance to children and families in Ukraine and neighboring countries since the escalation of the war on Feb. 24, 2022.
Here is a look at some of the specific challenges Ukrainian families are facing — and what UNICEF is doing to help.
Providing essential supplies to help families inside Ukraine survive winter
Seventeen-year-old Oleksandra and her family have done everything they could to repair their house for the cold winter months. The house was badly damaged by shrapnel and bullets, the roof torn down.
After ten months of war, Ukrainians are now dealing with harsh winter weather. With many houses destroyed, families like Oleksandra's are struggling to meet basic needs. Freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall only bring more challenges.
UNICEF is distributing blankets, winter clothes, boots and other cold-weather gear, and providing cash transfers and child care support to families in need.
Helping children get back to school — a top priority
The war has put school on hold for an estimated 4 million children. With thousands of schools destroyed or damaged, families are struggling to find ways to ensure their children can still receive an education.
UNICEF has provided mental health and psychosocial support to 1.7 million students. The organization is also providing teachers with first aid training, to help them prepare as first responders if their school is attacked.
Ensuring children with disabilities have the support they need
As 14 million fled their homes in search of safety, children with disabilities were uprooted both from their familiar surroundings and from the support system so essential to them. Four-year-old Theona has autism spectrum disorder, and when her family left their home in Kherson, they needed to find a new support system for her after they resettled in southern Ukraine around 600 miles from Lviv.
Theona is currently receiving support with from UNICEF-supported specialists at the Dzherelo Children's Rehabilitation Center. Across the country, UNICEF is working to provide children with disabilities the professional care and assistive devices they need.
Helping families meet basic needs by providing humanitarian cash transfers
Making emergency cash payments to families is one of the quickest and most effective ways to meet the urgent needs of children. UNICEF and partners have distributed $125 million in humanitarian cash transfers to families in Ukraine — focusing on those with three or more children and children with disabilities — reaching nearly 310,000 households.
"This program is about helping families in a crisis do what they believe is best for their children," said Murat Sahin, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine. "No one is in a better position to decide how to get the most out of this support than a parent or guardian."
Creating safe havens in neighboring countries
As the Ukraine war sent millions of children and women fleeing across borders, UNICEF and UNHCR worked together to open 'Blue Dot' service hubs along popular transit routes. These safe havens provided a range of services, including essential information on available accommodation and transportation, safe spaces for children to play, and counseling and mental health support.
The initial UNICEF-UNHCR Blue Dots were a success in providing urgent support to refugee children and their families. There are currently 65 centers operating in Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Moldova, Bulgaria and elsewhere.
Help UNICEF save and protect Ukraine's most vulnerable children and families. Your contribution can make a difference. Donate today.