Ukrainian families receive cash boost from UNICEF
Financial assistance is helping Svitlana and her family to get through the war this winter
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Svitlana and her three children live on the eighth floor of an apartment block in Kyivskiy district in Kharkiv, Ukraine. From their window, they can see the Saltivka district and surrounding roads. They also have a birds eye view of the devastation caused by the war.
The shelling and air raids have changed the family’s life.
"When in the middle of the night, my daughter Uliana got out of her bed and crawled into the hallway, I thought, ‘What a smart girl! Now it makes me want to cry.”
As well as affecting five-year-old Uliana, the war has also had a huge impact on Svitlana’s older children. Nine-year-old Maria has grown quieter, and 13-year-old Tymofiy can now easily distinguish between different types of explosions.
"Each person in our family has their responsibilities,” says Tymofiy. “I carry out rubbish and prepare breakfast for my sisters when mom leaves early for work. When there is no power, we try to stay calm and draw. Since the war started, I mostly stay at home because I don't want to go outside. My best friend moved, and I suffer from a lack of communication. I feel like I became older since the start of the war.”
The children lost their father before the war, so they are coping with a double trauma.
“Due to the war, our financial situation became much worse,” says Svitlana. “My current salary is not enough to pay for utilities.”
To her relief, in autumn, Svitlana applied for cash assistance from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and received 33,000 UAH.
"During the war, Tymofiy became taller but lost weight,” she says. “That is why the first thing we bought was a basic set of clothing for our kids. We also bought a boiler, then we paid debts for utilities. We fixed our microwave and now we plan to repair the fridge. It was a crucial support for our family. I'd have to work for half a year to earn this money.”
As temperatures in Ukraine continue to plummet, the family dream of an end to the war. All Svitlana wants is safety for her children and peace for her country.
"I'm sincerely wishing for the war to end and for my friends to return home, so we can walk together again,” says Tymofiy, sadly.
Together with partners, UNICEF is working to expand programmes aimed at saving the lives of children and their families in Ukraine. On 31 March, UNICEF launched a joint humanitarian cash assistance programme with the Ministry of Social Policy. The programme aims to help meet the needs of families with children in Ukraine, who are most affected by the war. Nearly 225,000 families in Ukraine have received cash transfers.
The сash assistance programme would not be possible without funding provided by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the European Union, the Governments of Bulgaria, Germany Federal Foreign Office, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and generous contributors to UNICEF’s flexible humanitarian resources.