As families in Ukraine mark St. Nicholas Day, UNICEF is stepping up support through new initiatives and activities, ensuring vulnerable children and families across the country receive financial, educational, and moral support over the holiday period.
UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Social Policy to provide a total of US$102 million of additional cash assistance to 123,000 vulnerable families in Ukraine, including families with four or more children and families that have a child with a disability, benefitting nearly half a million people, including children.
UNICEF is also supporting a Ukraine Ministry of Social Policy and Ukrzaliznytsia – the Ukrainian Railway – initiative this holiday season to ensure educational entertainment gifts reach war-affected children in eastern Ukraine, particularly children in newly accessible areas such as Kharkiv and Kherson. UNICEF has contributed some 30,000 UNICEF schoolbags and stationery kits towards this initiative, supporting the education and mental health of children.
“The holiday season has brought little cheer for families in Ukraine, but we hope that, by providing some of the most vulnerable families with critical cash assistance and education supplies, we can bring a little hope to parents and children in the midst of an especially difficult winter,” said UNICEF Ukraine Representative Murat Sahin.
As winter deepens and attacks on energy infrastructure leave electricity and heating in short supply, most families are struggling to stay warm. To provide families with access to warm spaces across Ukraine, UNICEF runs over 140 ‘Spilno’ – Ukrainian for ‘Together’ – spots that provide a warm child-friendly space for children to play, receive psychosocial support, and connect with peers, while also providing medical checks for children and referrals for other social services.
“At a time when families look back at the experiences of the year past and ahead to the new year, providing this small sense of normalcy and hope for the future, amid the most uncertain times, is critical,” said Sahin. “As we have done throughout 2022, UNICEF will do everything we can to support Ukraine’s children and families as we move into a new year.”
UNICEF launched the humanitarian cash transfer programme on 31 March 2022 with the Ministry of Social Policy to help address the needs of families with children in Ukraine, who are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of the war. As of 30 November 2022, a total of 196,435 families in Ukraine have received a total of US$191 million of cash assistance.
UNICEF continues to work with the Ministry of Social Policy to ensure the efficient and timely distribution of cash assistance to the most vulnerable families in Ukraine. UNICEF’s cash assistance programme is funded by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, the European Union, the Governments of Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, and UNICEF’s flexible humanitarian resources.