Families struggle to make ends meet in Ukraine
After their home was destroyed by shelling, Tetiana and her children are struggling to make ends meet in Borodianka
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This year, five-year-old Lisa and her family are living through Ukraine’s freezing winter in a friend’s small summer kitchen in Borordianka. What was once their beloved home is no longer habitable – it was destroyed by shelling in March last year.
Tetiana, Lisa’s mother, had been preparing to buy the rented apartment when the war started.
"My grandson was only two months old. We were living all together. Our whole lives were there in Borodianka. And now there is nothing left.”
After their home was hit, the family moved to western Ukraine. However, Tetiana could not find a new job, so they returned to Borodianka, where a neighbour offered them shelter in her summer kitchen. Although Tetiana resumed her work at the local kindergarten, she is trying to repay a loan she took to repair their home and there is little money left for essentials.
"We are now dressing our children in the wrong size, their clothing doesn't fit the season,” says Tetiana, sadly. “We're eating what good people give us. I want a happy future for my children. I don't want them to be homeless.”
Families with children in Ukraine are particularly vulnerable, especially in winter. Hundreds have lost their homes and their possessions in the violence, and scores of parents have lost their jobs and are struggling to provide basics such as food and clothes for their children.
As of the OCHA’s report, by the end of 2022, a total of 17.7 million people were estimated to be in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, including 3.4 million children requiring protection interventions. Between 24 February 2022 and 22 January 2023, 438 children were reported killed and 838 injured. One year on, around 5.4 million people remain displaced across Ukraine. Humanitarian needs continue to grow and an estimated 17.6 million people in Ukraine, including 4.1 million children, require humanitarian support in 2023.
Together with partners, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is working to expand programmes aimed at saving the lives of children and their families in Ukraine. More than 280,000 children have already received school supplies, while more than 1.7 million children and their families have received mental and psychosocial support. Moreover, almost 4 million people in the most-affected areas have been provided with necessities and medicines.
To support vulnerable children over winter, UNICEF is providing families with necessities, services and cash assistance. In addition to winter clothing, footwear and blankets, UNICEF is expanding services for children, as well as the cash transfer system. Schools have been provided with heating systems and fuel, hospitals have received new generators and heat pumps, and 50,000 displaced children have received winter clothing. This support is being provided through various response tools and platforms.