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EU supports access to school, psychological wellbeing of children in conflict-affected eastern Ukraine

Kyiv/Bakhmut, 20 February 2017 – The European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, today visited School No. 1 in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, one of the schools where the EU, in partnership with UNICEF, implements programmes which support education and the psychosocial wellbeing of children and youth in conflict-affected areas of eastern Ukraine.

"We need to pay special attention to the needs of children in any conflict. We need to increase support to projects that support education in emergencies. Rest assured of one thing, Europe does not forget about Ukraine. We want to show our solidarity, so that this crisis does not become a forgotten crisis. It is crucial to ensure the protection of all civilians and respect of International Humanitarian Law, during and after the conduct of hostilities," said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

Since August 2015, schools in eastern Ukraine have been participating in the “Education in Emergencies" and “Children of Peace” programmes supported by the European Commission and UNICEF.

  • The "Education in Emergencies" programme, begun in 2016, is ensuring that 25,000 children on both sides of the contact line in Donetsk and Luhansk regions have access to a safe learning environment through the rehabilitation of schools and kindergartens, the provision of educational and early development materials, and psychosocial support.
  • From August 2015 to December 2016, the “Children of Peace” programme reached 174,000 children and adolescents in Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions with life skills education and over 200,000 children and their parents with psychosocial support. The programme helped children and adolescents develop life skills such as clear communication, empathy, cooperation, conflict prevention and conflict resolution, respect for human rights and gender, and helped children live peacefully within both host and returnee communities. Through psychosocial support, children and teachers learnt how to cope with stress, anxiety, and the threat of violence. Student-teacher relationships were markedly improved, and the school environments became more supportive and friendly for children.

“We are grateful to the EU ­– and the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), in particular – for their ongoing support to education in the emergency in Ukraine. We believe that this partnership, which supports conflict-affected children who are internally displaced as well as hosting communities, has achieved significant results. It has helped address tensions and traumas and prepare children and their families for post-conflict reconciliation,” said Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine.


Notes to Editors:

About UNICEF: UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) promotes the wellbeing of every child and every family throughout Ukraine since 1997. UNICEF is a world champion in protecting children’s rights and interests. Together with our partners, we work in more than 190 countries to protect and support children from their birth until they become adults. UNICEF activities are funded from voluntary contributions of individuals, companies, organizations and governments. For more information visit: . Join us on TwitterFacebook and ВКонтакте.

About EU Humanitarian Aid: The European Union and its Member States are the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. The European Commission ensures rapid and effective delivery of EU relief assistance through its two main instruments: humanitarian aid and civil protection.

The Commission, through its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), helps over 120 million victims of conflict and disasters every year.

With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, ECHO provides assistance to the most vulnerable people solely on the basis of humanitarian needs. For more information, please visit ECHO's website.

For more information, please contact:
Iuliia Poberezhna, UNICEF Kyiv, +380 50 3882951,
Mathias Eick, Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), +90-5334125663,



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