Families in eastern Ukraine find strength thanks to UNICEF partnership
In Ukraine, UNICEF jointly with TGH provided e-vouchers to improve access to hygiene supplies for the conflict-affected population.
Like many mothers, Anna Tararaka likes to bathe her children in the evenings. But in Avdiivka, Eastern Ukraine, such a simple task can become a nightmare.
Six years of armed conflict mean Anna and her family have little money left to spend on hygiene items and must deal withblackouts, as well as an unreliable gas and water supply.
“At the beginning of the war, we had neither light nor hot watersupply,” says Anna, who lives with her two children and is pregnant with a third. “Now it’s easier. But I still sometimes need to choose whether to buy shampoo for children or buy meat to cook soup.”
Finding a job in war-ravaged of Avdiivka has been impossible. As a result, Anna has struggled to survive on low social benefits. But last year, she received electronic vouchers for hygiene products as part of a Triangle and UNICEF partnership project.
“Thanks to UNICEF and Triangle giving me vouchers, I saved a lot of money,” she says, happily. “And I used this money to celebrate New Year with my children. There was an opportunity to arrange a fete for them and buy something tasty.”
Help for thousands of families
Anna received two e-vouchers, each worth UAH 1,700, which enabled her to buy laundry detergent, diapers, toothpaste, baby shampoo and oil from a local store.
“I got a message on my phone with my e-voucher number,” she recalls. “And in the store next to us, I got everything that I needed for that amount. Of course, I was mostly taking hygiene products for children, especially bath foam and shampoos.”
“The products that I bought with this voucher go a long way for me – several months. The last time I received a voucher was September 2019 and we still have these diapers and shampoo.”
The Tararaka family are one of 15,000 families from 175 settlements in 11 districts across the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to have received the e-vouchers.
The UNICEF and Triangle Generation Humanitaire project was implemented along the contact line in eastern Ukraine from March 2018 to October 2019. As a result, people in conflict-affected areas were finally able to buy personal and household hygiene products from 106 stores.
The chance to save for a future
Maryna Kostrykin from Avdiivka has five children, aged from 2 to 13 years old. Five years ago, there was plenty of room for everyone at home. Then, overnight, life changed forever.
“Before, we had a nice apartment in a nine-story building on the outskirts of Avdiivka,” says Maryna, holding her youngest son in her lap. “But a shell hit the kitchen when we were not at home. Now the apartment is almost completely destroyed.”
Because of the conflict and damage to their home, the Kostrykin family were forced to rent temporary housing in a safer neighbourhood, away from the contact line.
“It is very disappointing when you have an apartment in your hometown, but you cannot live in it,” says Maryna, sadly.
For years, she and her husband could only dream of buying comfortable furniture for the small kitchen that would allow the whole family to sit together at the table.
But the e-vouchers gave Maryna the chance to save some money.
“When we twice received a voucher worth of UAH 2,600 for powders, diapers and other hygiene products, we realized how much money it saved us. And we were able to save somethingand buy furniture in the kitchen that we long dreamed about. We still use these hygiene products. Here in Avdiivka, it is a very important and big help for families with children.”
UNICEF is working with partners to meet the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) needs of the most vulnerable families and children in eastern Ukraine. Projects are underway to improve access to safe drinking water and safe sanitation, improve hygiene practices in communities, schools and health facilities, and provide critical hygiene materials and winterization items.
In Ukraine, UNICEF jointly with TGH provided e-vouchers to improve access to hygiene supplies for the conflict-affected population. In 2018-2019, over 40,000 people, among the most vulnerable, benefitted from e-vouchers that could be used for purchase of hygiene goods in one of the local partner shops. In addition, 240 public institutions, including schools, kindergartens and health care facilities received hygiene e-vouchers reaching over 37,000 people, whereas 32,000 out of them are children. A network of 101 partner shops was developed, allowing to reach the families and institutions in the most remote locations faster than a hygiene kit distribution system. The innovative approach, time and cost effective, allowed choice of products by the families and supports local economy and small businesses predominantly run by women.