Real lives

In eastern Ukraine children suffer as fighting breaks water supply

UNICEF delivered first aid medical kits to provide immediate medical care for thousands of displaced children and their caregivers

UNICEF helps meet the hygiene and water needs of children affected by the crisis in Ukraine.

In Ukraine, children suffer as conflict continues

Colored pencils, drawing albums, books and games – basic but so necessary items for children.

Volunteer Vova: “A simple window pane separated me from death”

With the support of social workers, Maria was able to avoid the biggest mistake of her life

Inna: from Kyiv to Odesa. Hostage of circumstance

Angelika from Mykolaiv: looking for home

The most vulnerable children are the most affected in the conflict in Ukraine

Maria: “I feared for the lives of my children. There was no question, I had to take them away”.

Mother of two children from Donetsk: It is necessary to build a new life. And we are going forward.

Sisters from Luhansk are overcoming their fears after life in the conflict zone

One boy’s journey of change and coping with crisis

12-year-old Sumaya from Crimea is back to being ‘herself’ thanks to the psychosocial support she received from UNICEF

Football helps street children to become fans of sport and healthy lifestyles

Young activist asserts the rights of her HIV-positive peers

Liuda is sure that prevention will help her to give birth to a HIV-free baby

Prevention and treatment will make it possible for HIV-positive Kateryna to give birth to a healthy baby

Social workers provided care when all other people gave up on dealing with me, Maria says

Hard life is hard to change

An attempt to start a new life

What matters in life – success in football

Vinnytsya Becomes More Child-Friendly

Korosten Became More Friendly to Children with Disabilities

“Football gives me different life”

Football did not let him down

There is a way out. Widening a range of services for the most-at-risk adolescents in Mykolaiv region

A mistake in your life is not a full stop; it is a comma

A Boy from Odessa: from the street life to the dream of becoming a famous footballer

Changes that save lives: a story of success

Children with special needs: “To be not worse than others!”

From darkness to light: A social worker’s story

A true meaning in life: success with football

If to compare him today and then – it’s as different as day and night

Indifference may ruin lives: Children who No one Helps

A better life for at-risk girls in Ukraine

Hope in darkness - Olena’s story

Street children in Ukraine are among the most vulnerable groups to get HIV/AIDS

“Fathers are as important for newborns as mothers”

Child development in Chernobyl-affected Ukraine

Anastasia Polishchuk: “We thought that our child was just cutting teeth and we almost lost her because of meningitis”

“I had never even dreamt of such wonderful big family...”

Mediation as Implementation of the Right of the Child to Legal Protection

Sebastien’s story: A young Haitian earthquake survivor speaks

Breast-feeding: a Woman’s Happiness, a and Society’s Maturity Test

God and the Sun

The Price of Safer Sex Goes Up

The Duties of Real Men

Joined Hands Can’t Be Wrenched Apart

A Perfect Future

I did not want my son to be an orphan

I will not give him up… I will not be able to live knowing my child is somewhere along…

HIV positive mothers in Kherson oblast in Ukraine know their children can be born virus-free

Children’s authority in the world of adults

“It’s Just a Bug”. The Story of One Unvaccinated Boy’s Struggle with Meningitis



Children with special needs: “To be not worse than others!”

Roman is a 14-year-old boy living with a mild form of infantile cerebral palsy (ICP). He can move on his own, but rather slowly; he has only one hand that works properly. After studying at home for some time, the boy currently attends a public school. He lives with his mother in Donetsk.

Every child deserves to grow up in a loving and caring family and to develop fully. Tetiana Stryuk-Uldanova, coordinator of the charitable foundation, Our Home – Ukraine-2005, says that children with disabilities often come from single-parent families, having only a mother or a father. It is an extremely rare case when children with a diagnosis similar to Roman’s have both parents. In the majority of cases they are simply abandoned by parents and live in institutions.

Roman has a keen interest in football and often watches other boys playing in the yard. However, most football teams do not accept sick children on their teams. Children with special needs in Ukraine are at particularly high risk of abandonment, social stigma and discrimination, and they seldom have an opportunity to study with other children in a regular school. At the same time children with disabilities may still have very responsible parents. They receive tiny financial assistance from the government and have to work hard to earn their living, but they still find time to spend with their kids, at least during the weekends.

Volunteers from the foundation organized a small football team for boys like Roman who try to play the game as best they can.  Tetiana believes this is the way to overcome psychological barriers, and it helps children with ICP to develop physically: “It is essential for them to act this way, and to be no different from healthy kids.” Moreover, some call Donetsk “the capital of Ukrainian football and everyone – young and old – is attracted to the game.

Tetiana says that even visiting girls with Down’s syndrome, she finds they love to play with others, even if they are not aware of the game’s rules, Children with disabilities do their best not to lag behind the others: for them it is an opportunity to feel themselves the same as others, as a part of the greater society, and to be valued.

The social worker emphasizes that there is an enormous deficit of qualified specialists capable of supporting children with ICP in rehabilitation, and the government fails to ensure adequate financing of such activities. Only true enthusiasts, ready to work for very low salaries and particularly responsible parents are likely to work with disabled children in Donetsk: “This is a titanic job, which goes beyond explaining something to children. You have to do exercises with them, to know how to do it and to be willing to do it”, she added.

UNICEF cooperates with government and civil society and emphasizes equal rights and opportunities for all children, disregarding their health conditions. The priority in helping children with special needs is the development of comprehensive preventive and early intervention services, which help to minimize and, in some cases, even prevent development delays and disabilities among young children. This decreases stigmatisation, prevents institutionalisation of these children and expands opportunities for children with special needs. At the same time UNICEF urges social inclusion and provision of better opportunities for children with disabilities in Ukraine.



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