Hope amid crisis – UNICEF Refugee Response Office in Poland launches one-year report with First Lady
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Warsaw, 7 March 2023 – Over 900,000 children have benefitted from education opportunities, over 450,000 refugees received mental health support and over 370,000 women and children got access to health care - these are just some of the results of the work of the UNICEF Refugee Response Office in Poland in the last year, outlined in UNICEF’s new report.
‘Hope amid crisis: One year of UNICEF’s response in Poland for children and families fleeing war in Ukraine’, was launched today in Warsaw with guest of honour Mrs. Agata Kornhauser-Duda, First Lady of Poland. The report outlines the situation of refugee families in Poland over the last year and UNICEF’s efforts with central and local government and NGOs to help them, following the setting up of the Refugee Response Office in March 2022.
“When I arrived in Poland in the early days of the war, I saw desperate families who had left everything behind coming across the border.” said Philippe Cori, UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. “As UNICEF we knew we had to be here to support children. To provide hope amid this crisis.”
The war in Ukraine has caused the fastest displacement crisis in the world, and the largest in Europe, since World War II. At the peak of the displacement there was an estimated 3.5 million refugees from Ukraine in Poland. There are currently more than 1.5 million registered refugees from Ukraine in Poland. Around 90% of them are women and children.
Following the outbreak of the war, UNICEF worked quickly to establish a humanitarian response office in Poland and establish partnerships with central government ministries, municipalities and NGOs to keep refugee children learning and ensure families are healthy and safe.
“Poland was already responding to the crisis. But what UNICEF could offer was much needed support, supplies and technical expertise,” said Philippe Cori, UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. “Our entire response has therefore been in partnership with Poland - its central and local government and its civil society and people.
The event launching the report featured speeches from high level guests, including guest of honour Mrs. Agata Kornhauser-Duda, the First Lady of Poland, who thanked UNICEF for its efforts so far. Other high level speakers were Barbara Socha, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, Wojciech Gerwel, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Michał Olszewski, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw, as well as Philippe Cori, UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia and Dr. Rashed Mustafa Sarwar, Country Coordinator for UNICEFs Refugee Response Office in Poland. During the event, adolescents from Ukraine also spoke, sharing their testimonies.
“Millions of children have had their childhoods robbed from them because of this brutal war. Every single one has their own painful stories to tell,” said Dr. Rashed Mustafa Sarwar, Country Coordinator for UNICEFs Refugee Response Office in Poland. “Unfortunately, a year on, the war and suffering continue. This remains an emergency. Families who have fled from the war into Poland continue to need our help and we must keep supporting them.”
Key results of UNICEF’s response in Poland featured in the report include:
- 900,000 children and young people are benefitting from learning opportunities. This includes formal education in schools and kindergartens, early childhood development, digital learning in dedicated hubs, or extracurricular programmes in youth camps.
- 570,000 services have been provided to children and families from Ukraine at seven UNICEF-led Blue Dot Support Hubs in Poland in locations including border crossings, railway and bus stations and accommodation centers. This includes mental health support, a child-friendly space, child protection referrals and information on healthcare, education, housing and transport.
- 450,000 children and carers have received mental health and psychosocial support, including through Ukrainian speaking psychologists and psychiatrists.
- 370,000 women and children have received access to health care services and essential health supplies.
- Almost 200,000 children have benefited from the national universal child grant 500+ through UNICEF partnership with the Ministry of Family and Social Policy. The grant was administered by the Social Security Institution ZUS.
The UNICEF Refugee Response Office in Poland’s funding needs for 2023 are over $83 million USD to implement programmes including education, child protection, health and social protection.The full report can be found here: https://www.unicef.org/eca/stories/hope-amid-crisis
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/eca/.