New Spilno Child Spot opens in Odesa on second anniversary of UNICEF initiative

Odesa’s new child-friendly spot is the fifth to open at a major railway station in Ukraine, offering children and their parents a wide range of services and developmental opportunities.

02 April 2024
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UNICEF

ODESA, Ukraine, 1 April 2024 – Ukrainian Railways (Ukrzaliznytsia) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have opened a Spilno Child Spot at the railway station in the southern city of Odesa. This new child-friendly space provides various free services to support the development and leisure of children and adolescents, as well as support for their parents and caregivers. The opening marks the second anniversary of UNICEF’s signature initiative in Ukraine.

Odesa’s railway station welcomes hundreds of families every day, including those on the move after being displaced by the war. Well-known among parents, Spilno Child Spots are designed to help families with children during their challenging journeys, offering crucial support such as medical consultations or housing assistance, warmth during the cold season, and the chance to rest, learn or play.

“The first Spilno Child Spot was established two years ago at the onset of a full-scale war,” says Munir Mammadzade, UNICEF Representative to Ukraine. “By developing a network of Spilno spots, we aim to create a safe and nurturing environment for children that helps alleviate stress and anxiety caused by the war, supports children’s development, and helps them cultivate their talents and hobbies. Currently, we are developing an updated format called Spilno multifunctional centres, where children and their parents will have access to a wider range of psychosocial and educational services.”

Spilno multifunctional centres will offer even more services for children and their parents or caregivers, including special functional zones that meet the educational, developmental and psychosocial needs of children. In particular, the centres will offer: psychosocial support services for children aged 4 to 15 and their parents; educational activities to provide opportunities for formal and informal education for children with limited access due to the ongoing war; and a multimedia studio, with experts leading interactive lessons for children using digital equipment. 

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UNICEF

The Spilno Child Spot at Odesa’s railway station, which spans an area of ​​145 square metres, features informational and developmental areas equipped with bookshelves, drawing sets, colouring books, board games, a slide and a ball pool, as well as a ‘Train Car’ zone. Like other Spilno spots, the space is developed to ensure a comfortable stay for parents with children, equipped with waiting areas for parents, charging zones for mobile devices, and special cabins for diaper changing, dressing and breastfeeding. The space is inclusive and adapted for people with disabilities.

“We continue to systematically upgrade our railway stations jointly with UNICEF partners,” says Yevhen Lyashchenko, Board Chairman of Ukrzaliznytsia. “Right after opening the Spilno spot in Dnipro, we have built an even larger inclusive children's space in Odesa. The partnership between UNICEF and Ukrzaliznytsia guarantees our passengers care at all stages of their journey – from developmental children's content on trains to modern children's areas at our five largest stations. We are grateful to UNICEF for ensuring that over 1.5 million children traveling by rail annually receive our joint care and can develop safely despite the full-scale war.”  

Since 2022, Spilno Child Spots located in 22 regions of Ukraine have hosted approximately 3 million visitors. In addition to accessing critical support like psychologist consultations and mine safety awareness classes, children have enjoyed workshops on origami, painting and embroidery, active games, early development classes, interactive lessons, leadership development training and much more.

Spilno Child Spots currently operate at five railway stations across Ukraine – in Kyiv, Dnipro, Lviv, Kharkiv and Odesa. The largest Spilno spot, which is known as Iron Land and spans an area of ​​over 700 square metres, operates at the central railway station in Kyiv. In 2024, to ensure the sustainability of Spilno spots, UNICEF plans to gradually transfer the ownership for these children's spaces to local authorities. The spots will then be transformed into Spilno multifunctional centres.

Media contacts

Damian Rance
Chief Advocacy and Communications
UNICEF Ukraine

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org  

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