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.

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’ experience working in Ukraine, our teams were able to act fast. Since February 2022 we’ve already supported more than 13,000 children in Ukraine, and over 9,000 refugees across Romania and Moldova. But we urgently need your help to scale up our response and reach more refugee families and unaccompanied children with life-saving support.

If the total amount we raise exceeds what is needed to deliver our long-term response to this crisis, we will use donations where the need is greatest.

What we’ve achieved 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.

In numbers – we've helped:

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

people in Ukraine

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

people in Romania

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

people in Moldova

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’ 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, family-based 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.

Evacuating 43 vulnerable children

Between 16-18 March 2022, our teams in Ukraine and Romania worked together to evacuate 43 vulnerable children, nine carers, and their families (including 11 additional children), from the ‘It’s Good at Home’ Centre in Dnipropetrovsk, when it became too unsafe to stay there. ‘At night the train lights were out,' Daria, our regional coordinator explains. 'And we didn’t want any mobile phone lights to be seen from outside, in case we came under fire. We also had to reassure the children not to be scared if they heard sirens, or if the train stopped suddenly.’

About Hope and Homes for Children

Every child deserves the love and belonging of a safe family home–never the violence, abuse and neglect suffered in orphanages.

Hope and Homes for Children is an international charity that works to stop the institutionalisation of children.

Since 1994, we’ve inspired the UN, EU and local and national governments worldwide, from Romania to Rwanda, to close the doors of orphanages forever.

In their place, we fight to keep families together, to reunite them, and to create new ones – always working with children, for children.

Top photo: Ukrainian refugees cross the border into Romania at Siret in freezing temperatures. Credit: Ioana Moldovan/Hope and Homes for Children

Footnote: over 6 million people have fled across the border – https://data.unhcr.org/en/situations/ukraine

Last updated: August 2022