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War in Ukraine: SOS Children’s Villages 2022 review and 2023 actions

Published on 24.02.2023

285,000 children and adults supported

In response to the war, by the end of 2022, SOS Children’s Villages had supported some 285,000 people in Ukraine (125,000 direct beneficiaries, including 74,000 children) and in around 15 countries hosting refugees in Europe (11,300 direct beneficiaries). From Luxembourg, SOS Villages d’Enfants Monde, thanks to its generous donors, has supported more specifically the actions implemented in different regions of Ukraine.

On 24 February 2022, Ukraine was invaded by Russia, and started a terrible war that would disrupt the lives of millions of children, depriving them of their rights, separating them from their families, and forcing them into exile. A whole generation risks growing up without the support they need, and children without parental care (more than 3,100 in Ukraine) are the most vulnerable to all kinds of violence. Millions of people, 40% of them children, have fled their homes to other countries. Today, those who have returned most often join the millions of internally displaced people (1.5 million children). In early 2023, the need for humanitarian assistance is increasing, with 2.8 million children in urgent need of help.

To support children and families in Ukraine, make a donation via CCPL IBAN LU65 1111 0050 0053 0000 (mention « Urgence Ukraine 2023 ») or via www.sosve.lu

Response from SOS Children’s Villages

Active in the country for 20 years, SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine immediately took action. As the situation deteriorated month after month, the association moved to new locations and intensified its actions. Seven social centres were opened in the centre and west of the country, teams were relocated and resettled, some of them reinforced, including the mobile psychosocial support teams. By the end of 2022, SOS Ukraine was present in around 15 regions, directly or through its partners, and more resources were mobilised in the regions that had been taken over by the occupier. However, the association stopped its actions in the Lugansk region. At the beginning of the war, the SOS host families were evacuated to safer regions and neighbouring countries, where some of them are still residing.

SOS Ukraine has implemented its activities in three ways: continuation of regular programmes (family support, foster care), establishment of programmes for internally displaced persons and people in need, and the creation of a consortium of partners (14 at the moment) for the implementation of programmes where the association cannot act alone. By the end of 2022, some 55,000 people had received services through these partners.

SOS Children’s Villages in Ukraine

SOS Children’s Villages started working in Ukraine in 2003 and in 2010 opened the first SOS Children’s Village in Brovary, in the Kyiv region. Before the war, the local organisation was supporting some 2,000 children, young people and adults in two regions (foster families, youth programmes, family strengthening, emergency aid) and carrying out advocacy work at institutional level. It operated between 2012 and 2022 in the eastern Ukraine, in the Lugansk region.

Mental health and education

Millions of children and adults in Ukraine will remain traumatised for a long time and will need mental health services that few organisations can provide today. In this area, SOS staff have extensive experience working with children and adults affected by the war since 2014. They use different approaches and programmes, provide knowledge and techniques to help overcome the traumas of war, offer psychological resilience courses for children and teachers. Currently, children who survived the occupation are the focus of the programme. On the other hand, many children continue to have problems accessing education. Trauma and psychological stress lead to the risk of dropping out of school and negative coping mechanisms. In 2022, 5.7 million Ukrainian children had their education disrupted, 3.6 million were affected by school closures.

2022 review of services in Ukraine

SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine, together with its partners, supported more than 270,000 people between February and December 2022 (more than 333,000 services in emergency assistance). SOS Ukraine assisted internally displaced families, helped families find accommodation, provided psychological support, food parcels and financial assistance, opened summer camps for children, implemented a winterisation plan and carried out advocacy work. The following measures can be highlighted:

Relocation of children and families at risk: 30,000 people evacuated within Ukraine, 1,395 host families to SOS facilities in Europe.

Opening of seven social service centres (distribution points for humanitarian aid, sometimes bomb shelters): more than 24,000 children and adults received material, psychological and social aid.

Mental health and psychosocial support services: for more than 17,000 people via a.o. social centres, mobile teams of psychologists and online specialists.

Financial assistance to foster families, distant relatives, single mothers with children: 23,000 beneficiaries of cash and voucher assistance for their basic needs.

Assistance to war-wounded children: more than 600 children supported (medical/psychological assistance, rehabilitation, legislative/administrative assistance…).

2022 review of activities in host countries

In 2022, many SOS organisations in Europe offered accommodation and services to people from Ukraine. They often worked together with SOS Ukraine to respond to the emergency and accompany Ukrainian refugees, host families and unaccompanied minors. At the end of the year, there were 11,300 beneficiaries. Some associations offered different types of support, others focused on specific activities. These included housing, basic necessities, financial support, legal/administrative assistance, employment assistance, social inclusion, access to education and recreational activities. SOS associations in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Spain were involved. Some examples:

• SOS Children’s Villages in Poland: evacuation and support for 250 people in host families, support for families throughout the country (2,300 people), construction of a network of specialised SOS centres to support Polish and Ukrainian children (mental health and rehabilitation).

• SOS Children’s Villages in the Czech Republic: over 150 members of host families, beneficiaries of services (housing, educational, social and economic integration, language courses).

• SOS Children’s Villages in Greece: over 1,000 beneficiaries of services (housing and vouchers, social inclusion, support towards independence, services for mothers with children, mental health support for children, language courses, recreational activities).

• SOS Children’s Villages in Latvia: more than 1,000 beneficiaries of services (housing, financial assistance, psychosocial support – with social services of municipalities and local NGOs).

• SOS Children’s Villages in Romania: over 500 beneficiaries in Bucharest, Hemeius and Cisnadie (financial assistance, housing, health, education, language courses). 70 children and adults are currently accommodated by SOS Romania.

Activities planned for 2023: 100,000 children involved

At the moment, there are about ten programmes underway in nine countries, including Ukraine. SOS Ukraine wants to expand its work and offer services in at least 17 regions. Some 172,250 direct beneficiaries in Ukraine and 5,600 people in host countries (e.g. Bulgaria, Greece, Romania) are targeted, including 100,000 children. It will provide child protection and safeguarding services, essential services (food security, livelihoods, shelter, health, mental health, education in emergency situations, etc.) and financial assistance. It will also support capacity building of social services, prepare a response to further displacement and build the capacity of local partners and authorities, particularly in the areas of mental health and case management, where SOS Children’s Villages will cooperate with other NGOs.

The generous donors of SOS Villages d’Enfants Monde Luxembourg a.s.b.l.

In 2022, thanks to its generous donors, SOS Villages d’Enfants Monde was able to transfer €420,000 to support emergency aid in various regions of Ukraine. For the time being, the association continues to raise funds and is committed to supporting new interventions. To support children and families in Ukraine, make a donation via CCPL IBAN LU65 1111 0050 0053 0000 (mention « Urgence Ukraine 2023 ») or via www.sosve.lu

Learn more :

24.02.2023

Safe in Brovary

« Je dis au personnel des villages d’enfants SOS qu’il m’étonne, car nous n’avons jamais eu autant de soutien », déclare Valentyna Chernyuk, mère d’accueil de quatre enfants de la région de Kherson, qui vit désormais dans le village d’enfants SOS de Brovary. Toute sa vie, Valentyna, 44 ans, s’est occupée de son ménage, de son potager, […]

22.02.2023

Families from Ukraine to Poland, one year on

On 27 February 2022, the first group of foster families from SOS Children’s Villages in Ukraine crossed the border into Poland. Humanitarian action teams in both countries worked around the clock to organize the evacuation. A year later, 124 children and 42 foster parents are living in SOS Children’s Villages across Poland. Over 1.5 million […]

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