Real lives

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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



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

© UNICEF Ukraine / 2013 / R.Rudakov
Kirill together with other kids open Ukraine-France football match, November 2013

When you see this 11-year old smiling and energetic boy who is obsessed with football and likes outdoor activities, you can hardly imagine that he has already had to deal with the apathy of the world.

Nowadays, Kyrylo* lives in one of Kyiv’s centres for social and psychological rehabilitation of children and until recently, the majority of his life was spent living on the streets. His family found itself in disadvantaged life circumstances, after his father died his mother and step-father could not manage to raise eight children. At first Kyrylo started to runaway from home for some hours and eventually began to disappear for several days. He was alone; he roamed the streets and sometimes found shelter at different places.

One day he was found limping on the street with pain in his leg following a bike accident. Doctors from a nearby ambulance noticed the lonely, sick boy and took him to a hospital, where they provided health care notified social workers.

“When Kyrylo first entered our centre, he behaved sullenly, and responded to all our attempts to talk to him in an aggressive manner,” recalls Ivan Pidiura, a specialist at the Centre for social and psychological rehabilitation of children №1 in Kyiv

Still, social workers managed to deal with Kyrylo – he started to engage in sports and was encouraged to play in the Centre’s football team. Soon enough, things were looking up, as the boy started to change. Specialists of the Centre report that he began to express positive attitudes, and that he had become the most energetic and active child in the Centre, getting involved in all events. His eyes are shining bright when it comes to sports.

© UNICEF Ukraine / 2013 / R.Rudakov
Over 67,000 football fans attended the play-off World Cup 2014 FIFA match between Ukraine and France

As Kyrylo had missed a lot of school classes, his knowledge level is quite low compared to his peers. But he likes studying in the Centre school and easily manages to quickly overtake arrears. Teachers say that this is not only due to good memory, but rather to the boy’s keen interest in his studies.

One of the most remarkable impressions of Kyrylo was regarding his participation in the preparation of events before the football match between the national teams of Ukraine and Israel. He entered the pitch with one of the most famous football players and had a talk with the athletes.When he learned that children would also be invited to enter the pitch together with the football players of the national teams of Ukraine and France last week, Kyrylo could hardly wait. It would be a day of great football and communication with his icons again! Moreover, Kyrylo as entered the stadium with the professional footballers, over 67 thousand real fans and millions of TV audience would be looking at him.

Due to the ongoing joint initiatives of UNICEF and the Football Federation of Ukraine, children are given such incredible opportunities. This initiative is aimed at drawing public attention to children’s rights, especially the rights of those most vulnerable, and at promoting sports such as football for rehabilitation of such children.

“Such events are very beneficial for children like Kyrylo. They start to change their attitudes to studying, and also to their health – in fact, a sportsman should observe discipline, keep his body healthy and strong. They love football, and football players are heroes and icons for them. Kyrylo is a good example of how sport can change children from disadvantaged families,” Ivan Pidiura says.

“Irrespective of the score, the match appeared to become a great event in the life of children – they looked absolutely happy. Disadvantaged children have few happy moments. This is why UNICEF, together with the Football Federation of Ukraine and other partners, run initiatives aimed at providing assistance to vulnerable children to see more smiles on their faces”, stated Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine.

* The name was changed due to ethical considerations



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