UNICEF helps foster family children live in war conditions
Distant learning is now available for four siblings
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For the first time, Tatiana and Ivan became foster parents in 2010 when their biological sons had grown up. A small house in the little village called Ivashenkove of the Berezivska community became a new home for two little sisters. As Tetiana knew how children in institutional care facilities are treated, she had been dreaming about two more daughters in their close-knit family.
In January 2022, the three sisters, Maryna, Vladyslava, and Vitalina, came to a community rehabilitation center. At the beginning of February, Tetiana found out about them and wished she could meet the girls as soon as possible.
On the morning of February 24th, like most Ukrainians, the Ponyrko family woke up because of explosions. That was all because the Ivashenkove village is located 20 km from the border. Tetiana’s heart was shaking from the worries about her children, who were still watching dreams, and those waiting for the meeting. First days of the war, and fierce hostilities… What was going to happen next? How to take responsibility for three more children? Were her family able to do it? But the long-awaited meeting with three sisters happened despite everything. Tetiana's heart melt when she looked into the eyes of each girl.
"We knew we would not be alone in such difficult times because the community always supports the locals"
In April 2022, the foster family became a family-based house. The five daughters now live with Tetiana and Ivan.
Maryna, Vladyslava, and Vitalinа needed help. Difficult living conditions affected their psychological state and mental health. It appeared everything had to be gradually improving. There was a loving family, a loving mother, a caring father, and happy sisters. But the war was continuing to distroy feelings of safety and stability.
Tetiana asked for psychological support for her family. The community came up with the idea to create a center where the family could adapt to wartime, stabilize their emotional state, and receive the necessary help from specialists. The community managed to equip and open a Psychological Assistance Center thanks to the funds received by the Berezivska community as part of the joint project of UNICEF and the Association of Ukrainian Cities ‘Emergency Response to Support Children Affected by Armed Conflict’. In this center, the Ponyrko family like other families work with psychologists to support their mental health amid hard times.
On the first of September, the Ponyrko family had four schoolgirls. The Internet connection in the village was poor, and not all the children in the family had gadgets.
Thanks to UNICEF's support, the family received a laptop, headphones, speakers, and a router. Now, the girls can master their school subjects and communicate with their peers through distance learning.
Thanks to the project, a multifunctional sports ground and a trampoline have also appeared in the village. Now, children from two family-type homes, a foster family, and the entire village come together for entertainment.
Flexible funding allows UNICEF to continue providing vital support and meet the urgent needs of children and families in Ukraine. The governments of Denmark, Iceland, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Serbia are among the UNICEF partners that have contributed to flexible funding, along with UNICEF National Committees.