UNICEF supports Ukraine Ministry of Social Policy and Ukrainian Railways holiday season campaign for war-affected children and vulnerable families

Holiday season gift-giving campaign supported by UNICEF, including through over US$100 million of direct cash assistance, will help ease the burden of winter on families with children.

19 December 2022

We all anticipate the season’s holidays, make wishes, wait for miracles, and get joy out of gift giving. However, for nearly 7 million children in Ukraine, the war has meant that the 2022 holidays are unlike any other they have ever seen. With winter upon us and heating in short supply, most families are struggling just to stay warm – 2022’s holiday season is far from normal.

Children in Ukraine continue to suffer the devastating impact of war, including from explosive weapons, unexploded ordnance and remnants of war, and the inability to access schooling online or in-person. Many schools have been severely damaged or destroyed and, due to attacks on energy infrastructure, online lessons are unable to function with any certainty. Schooling goes beyond just learning, however. It provides children a sense of place, where they can socialise with peers, play with friends, and connect with teachers – it provides a sense of normalcy and routine, which is critical. Without this, children have fewer places to process the significant stressors and upheavals they have endured throughout this war, which helps them to manage their emotions and mitigate the psychosocial effects of all they have seen and lived. 


Across Ukraine, UNICEF runs over 140 ‘Spilno’ spots that provide a warm child friendly space for children to play, receive psychosocial support, and connect with peers – to experience a moment of normalcy – while also providing medical checks for children and referrals for other social services.

Spilno means ‘together’. To bring back the joy of childhood, UNICEF together with the Ministry of Social Policy, and Ukrainian Railways, is supporting their efforts to ensure vulnerable families and children receive financial, educational, and moral support over the holiday period.


In this vein, to help ease the financial burden of winter as the war continues, UNICEF is providing 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. This will benefit nearly half a million people, including children.

UNICEF is also supporting a Ukrainian Railways (Ukrzaliznytsia) 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 by bringing back the joy of childhood.



“UNICEF’s cash assistance will help the most vulnerable families and children in Ukraine get through this especially difficult winter. Having additional financial resources will enable families to buy whatever essential items that they need. UNICEF’s inclusion of over 30,000 schoolbags full of edutainment material, such as art, learning, and stationery supplies in Ukrainian Railways’ gift-giving train to eastern Ukraine is our way helping war-affected children play, learn, and grow. Educational entertainment is important for the mental health of children. We hope, this holiday season, to allow families a bit of normalcy in an otherwise very abnormal situation. The cash assistance and the edutainment materials may enable them to help celebrate the holiday season, giving hope and happiness to children who have experienced continuous war over the last ten months,” said Murat Sahin, UNICEF Ukraine Representative.

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 advises families in Ukraine to check updates on their cash assistance applications through eDopomonga or the Spilno free hotline at 0 800 600 017 (reachable daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm). For families who wish to apply for cash assistance, please check for registration updates and instructions on eDopomonga.

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.

Media contacts

Iryna Mazur
Regional Chief of Communication
UNICEF Europe and Central Asia
Damian Rance
UNICEF Ukraine
Tel: +380 50 344 4564


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/.

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