Children in eastern Ukraine must have access to safe education and childhood –UNICEF
KYIV, 17 February 2022 - Attacks on kindergartens and schools have been a sad reality for children in eastern Ukraine over the last eight years. More than 750 schools have been damaged since the beginning of the conflict, disrupting access to education for thousands of children on both sides of the contact line.
The conflict has taken a severe toll on the psychosocial wellbeing of an entire generation of children growing up in eastern Ukraine. Furthermore, children in eastern Ukraine live in one of the world's most mine-contaminated stretches of land. Every day, they live, play, and go to and from school in areas littered with landmines, unexploded ordnances, and other deadly explosive remnants of war. Since the onset of the conflict, UNICEF has been on the ground across eastern Ukraine, delivering psychosocial support and mine risk education to over 180,000 children, youth, and caregivers. UNICEF also supports repairs to damaged schools and kindergartens and distributes vital education supplies such as educational kits, furniture sets and sports equipment.
UNICEF calls on all parties to respect the Safe School Declaration and protect children and their caregivers from attacks, regardless of the circumstances they might find themselves in. Educational facilities should remain a safe space where children can be protected from threats and crises and a haven where they can learn, play, and grow to their full potential. A child's right to education cannot be safeguarded in conflict settings without education itself being protected.
UNICEF will continue to work with conflict-affected communities to provide much needed humanitarian support and address the urgent needs of the most vulnerable children and families.