Europe’s second largest country, Ukraine, is home to roughly 43.8 million people. When the war with Russia began in February 2022, an estimated 14.3 million people were displaced from Ukraine within the country and to countries across Europe.
While some have returned to the country, more that 7 million people remain internally displaced in Ukraine. Most of those who have been displaced are women and children, nearly a third of whom have been displaced more than once before, and almost 1 in 10 have been displaced three times or more.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Ukraine since 2003.
According to the United Nations, it is estimated that around 17.6 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian support. Around 23% of those in need of support are children.
Nearly two-thirds of children have had to flee their homes. Children who have been displaced are at an increased risk of poverty, malnutrition, abuse, neglect, separation from their families, violence, and trafficking. In the long-term, psychological distress and missed education threaten their future well-being and prospects.
Over 3,000 education facilities, have suffered bombing and shelling, or have been completely destroyed. As a result, 2.6 million students are unable to go to school. Many schools are trying their very best to continue their teaching online. However, online learning is jeopardized by power blackouts and a lack of internet.
Schools face the loss of teaching and technical material such as books and projectors. Unable to study, children face the long-term consequences of falling behind in their education, and social development.
Life for the children in Ukraine has changed drastically since the war started. Most of those who have had to leave their homes behind are women and children. The majority of families have been separated.
Children have had to leave behind the family, school, friends and life that they knew. They have had to adjust to a new, unpredictable situation that is full of insecurity.
These children need specialized assistance so that they can begin to overcome all the difficulties they face.