Family vows to rebuild after losing home in Irpin
Sixteen-year-old Sofia and her family lost their home after it was struck by a shell, but are determined to rebuild
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In the spring of 2022, 16-year-old Sofia’s home in Irpin, Ukraine was struck by a shell. Now, just like her dreams, it is being demolished.
For the last 10 months, Sofia, her mother and two siblings have been living with friends in the Khmelnytska region, while their father remained in Irpin. Step by step, he has been repairing a summer kitchen, which stands next to their former home.
"The shell hit my room, so there is nothing left. All of the furniture has been destroyed. Now it's all dust. If only we had our home where we could all live together.”
There is little left of Sofia's old bedroom. Remains of the wall, wallpaper and bricks are scattered over the floor. "It's very painful to look at all this, so much work was put into the house,” says Olia, Sofia’s mother.
"I really want our family to be united again because children miss their father. When our dad comes, little Bohdan doesn't let him go, follows him and cries when he leaves again.”
Money has been tight after both Olia and her husband lost their jobs.
However, last summer, Olia received financial assistance of 26,500 UAH from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for her children. She spent part of the money on repairing the summer kitchen, so that the family have a place to live, and bought clothes for the children with the rest of it.
"All their clothes were torn by the debris,” she says. “We had to buy a lot of new clothes.”
As the violence in Ukraine continues, families with children in Ukraine are particularly vulnerable. Hundreds have lost their homes and their belongings, and thousands of parents have lost their jobs and are now struggling to provide for their children. Some even lack basics like food, warm clothes and shoes.
Together with partners, 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.
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. As of December 2022, 200,000 families in Ukraine have received cash transfers totalling US$ 191 million. This is over 560,000 children, including 50,000 children with disabilities.
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.