A 16-year-old girl living in Western Ukraine shares her story of living through war, being apart from her parents and how the conflict has impacted her.
Every Second, Another Child Becomes a Refugee
One year after the crisis in Ukraine escalated, the situation remains dire for children and their families. The conflict in Ukraine has caused the fastest and largest displacement of people in Europe since World War II. The scale of destruction and impacts of attacks on civilian infrastructure, hospitals, schools are utterly shocking.
Whenever children are forced to flee their home, there is a risk that children will become separated from their families. Additional risks of sexual exploitation and abuse, gender-based violence and human trafficking are also of grave concern.
Since our founding in 1919, Save the Children has worked tirelessly to provide refugees with life-saving assistance. Together with Save the Children Action Network, we support refugee advocacy to make sure refugees' rights are realized. Today, we are working inside Ukraine and at the borders of neighboring countries to support the immediate needs of children and their families fleeing violence in Ukraine.
Your donation today to the Children's Emergency Fund can help us reach children in Ukraine, Ukraine refugee children and children around the world who are caught in the middle of armed conflict. Join our political advocacy arm — Save the Children Advocacy Network — and send a message to President Biden and Congress: They've been orphaned. They've witnessed unspeakable violence. They've even seen death. And yet, less than a penny of each dollar spent on global health funding goes toward mental health support. It's not enough — and kids in the Ukraine need more. we must pass the MINDS Act so they can heal and thrive.
Ukraine refugees are crossing the borders to neighboring countries to the west, such as Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova.
The war in Ukraine has forced two-thirds of children in Ukraine to flee their homes since the war escalated on February 24, 2022.
A child from Ukraine has become a refugee every single second of the war.
In Save the Children’s latest needs assessment of families in Ukraine, 85% said they needed psychosocial support. Families also revealed heartbreaking accounts of children unable to sleep, being constantly afraid, crying and not wanting to leave bomb shelters.
According to the latest UN data, close to 9.6 million refugees from Ukraine have fled to Poland.
Other neighboring countries have also welcomed a large number of refugees following the war. Nearly 2 million Ukraine refugees have fled to Romania. Moldovia has welcomed more than 770,000 Ukraine refugees, Hungary has taken in nearly 2.2 million and almost 1.1 million Ukraine refugees have fled to Slovakia.
Save the Children is encouraged by the response of neighboring countries opening their borders to those fleeing horrific violence in Ukraine. The response should be open, inclusive, transparent, and tailored to the immediate needs of children and their families.
Most of the Ukrainian refugees arriving are women and children.
Children and mothers are fleeing Ukraine extremely distressed after their families were torn apart as Russian military operations forced thousands of families from their homes to seek safety.
“Although we’re seeing mothers have a sense of relief that their children are safe and have found refuge," said Gabriela Alexandrescu, CEO of Save the Children in Romania, "they are terrified to be doing this alone. With husbands and fathers remaining in Ukraine, mothers are the ones who have their child’s life in their hands.”
We are very concerned about reports of racial discrimination facing children, families and students at the border leaving Ukraine. It's a fundamental principle of humanitarian support that everyone gets help, no matter their nationality or skin color.
In 2022, Save the Children supported 292,858 people who were forced to flee their homes, including 177,589 children, as part of our Regional Refugee Response across Poland, Romania and Lithuania.
We are providing life-saving support such as food, hygiene products, clothes and diapers – as well as cash support.
We are also providing mental health support to terrified Ukraine refugee children and their families. We have set up child-friendly spaces where children can play and recover from the traumatic experiences they have been through.
Save the Children is right now on the ground supporting children caught in the middle of armed conflict and forced from their homes in freezing temperatures.
Your donation today to the Children's Emergency Fund can help provide children in Ukraine and around the world who are growing up in the middle of armed conflict with urgent humanitarian aid.
Our teams began assisting Ukraine refugee children and families in Romania, Poland and Lithuania within days of the start of the conflict.
Our Response in Romania
Save the Children Romania supported 230,823 people, including 125,202 children, with humanitarian aid and essential services.
Save the Children has been working in Romania since 1991, and mobilised rapidly to support the first refugees who crossed the border from Ukraine. In 2022, we worked across 8 Counselling Hubs, 10 border crossings, 8 accommodation centres and camps, as well as through mobile teams.
Our teams are at every border crossing providing food, clean water, hygiene items, pre-paid sim cards, information, and translation services to families fleeing Ukraine.
Save the Children Poland supported 37,892 people, including 31,918 children, with humanitarian aid and essential services.
In Poland, our teams are providing integrated programming of education, livelihoods, cash assistance, child protection, nutrition and mental health and psychosocial support. Our programs are a great example of a localized response, combining our efforts with Polish local authorities, civil society organizations and host communities.
Our Response in Lituthia
In Lithuania, Save the Children supported 24,143 people, including 20,468 children, with humanitarian aid and essential services.
We’re providing children and their families with recreational and educational activities through our child-friendly spaces as well as essential items, including hygiene items, toys, clothes and medical referrals.
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