Ukraine update: our plans

Halyna Postoliuk, our country director for Ukraine, standing in a school that has been destroyed by bombing

Generous donations from our incredible supporters have enabled us to provide crucial help to families and children affected by the brutal war in Ukraine.

As we continue to work on immediate relief, it’s imperative we also plan for the future. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, countless families have been torn apart by brutal bombing and bloodshed. As well as losing family members in the fighting, over six million people have fled across the border, leaving loved ones, livelihoods and almost everything they owned behind. Families are getting separated in the chaos, and children are travelling, unaccompanied, into foreign countries. 

This war is not merely a humanitarian crisis for the people of Ukraine, but for the world. It has created a child protection emergency across the region. And it has exposed Ukraine’s vast system of orphanages, housing 100,000 children – many of whom have been left to face the dangers of war alone. 

“The loss of financial opportunities and logistical connections has led to job cuts, wages cuts and rising unemployment. Fewer families with children can provide for themselves. The situation of families who had survived based on state social payments, remains critical, as the regularity of social payments has not been fully restored yet and prices are rising rapidly. […] There is virtually no place to remove children. There is a catastrophic shortage of [emergency foster carers] in the region. Institutions do not work. The situation is really getting worse.” 

Halyna Postoliuk, Director of Hope and Homes for Children Ukraine 

Hope and Homes for Children is working together with our local partners across Ukraine, Romania and Moldova to support the most vulnerable children and families on the brink of survival. 

With 24 years of experience working in Ukraine, our teams were able to act fast. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, since February 2022 we’ve already supported more than 13,000 children in Ukraine, and over 6,000 refugees across Romania and Moldova.

What our supporters have helped us achieve so far 

Our achievements in Ukraine since 1998 mean we’re uniquely positioned to respond to this crisis. Since 24th February, we’ve directly helped more than 13,000 children within Ukraine; 4,000 refugees in Romania and 5,000 refugees in Moldova.

  • We’ve successfully advocated for the protection of Ukraine’s 100,000 children in orphanages, ensuring these children are monitored, tracked and recognised by the humanitarian system.
  • In Ukraine, we’ve provided practical, life-saving support, including psychosocial support, food, water and protection. We’ve helped relocate vulnerable families and evacuate three baby homes. And we’ve equipped specialists with protective clothing and first aid kits.
  • In Moldova, we’ve supported over 3,000 refugees with essential needs, emotional support and referral services. We’ve supported many unaccompanied children into foster families. And we’ve supported a further 2,580 people within 20 Refugee Accommodation Centres.
  • In Romania, we’ve been supporting children and families arriving from Ukraine, including unaccompanied children, with vital essentials. And we’ve helped the authorities prepare centres for children and carers evacuated from Ukrainian orphanages.

“Many families in need of help live in remote villages, where public transport runs at best twice a day (and sometimes once or twice a week). No one will leave children alone at home, and it is not possible to take everyone to go all together, because the ticket price sometimes reaches more than 100UAH [around $2.90]. The possibilities of our organisation in this sense are unique, because we can quickly respond even to a phone call from a family, and within a few hours – to deliver the package, or even send it by Nova Poshta [a widespread postal and cargo company in Ukraine], if the need is urgent and the family lives far away.”

–Yana Polishko, social work specialist, Dnipropetrovsk region, Hope and Homes for Children Ukraine 

Our five-year response 

Our work to ensure children and families are protected and supported will not end when the media attention dies down. Drawing on 24 years of experience working in Ukraine, our five-year regional response plan aims to lay the foundations for a scalable family-based care system. A system that will lead to the elimination of orphanages in Ukraine. 

Ukraine joining the European Union gives us an opportunity to collaborate with the Ukrainian authorities to ‘build back better’. Together, we can work to create a strong, effective child protection system with families at its core. With a focus on Kyiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions, we will: 

  • Strengthen families – by providing humanitarian and psychosocial support, and developing community-based service models to prevent family breakdown and avoid the need for institutional care
  • Close baby homes – and demonstrate alternative, familybased care services for children without parental care
  • Advocate at national and EU levels – to shut down Ukraine’s orphanage system and ensure sufficient support to achieve this, always in the best interests of children.

Meanwhile, in Moldova and Romania, we continue to support refugee families, unaccompanied children and children evacuated from orphanages in Ukraine. We’re providing their basic needs and offering essential psychosocial support until they can return safely to Ukraine. 

To do this, we’re working in close partnership with others including the Ukrainian authorities, the European Union, the UK Government, UNICEF and Save the Children. 

Winter and rising prices are posing a dire threat not only to vulnerable families, but now to everyone across the region; even to these plans. Support our Winter Crisis Appeal today to help us protect families and keep them together — through war, through winter and beyond.

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