Ukraine – February 28 2022

Ukrainian foster families flee warzone for Poland

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Foster families from SOS Children’s Village Brovary, near Kyiv, and from the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine fled to neighboring Poland where they will be accommodated in the programmes of SOS Children’s Villages Poland.

More than 60 children, plus nine foster parents and two staff members, traveled to Poland in two groups on Sunday and Monday. The decision to relocate the families came after fighting and bombings in the country worsened.

The SOS families are among the more than 500,000 Ukrainians, mostly women and children, who have fled to neighboring European countries since Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday, according to the United Nations refugee agency. The war poses an immediate and growing threat to the country’s 7.5 million children.

Serhii Lukashov, national director of SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine warned in particular of the urgent needs of the roughly 100,000 children who live in residential institutions. “Many residential institutions for children are cut off from any support. They have no supplies and no money. We are finding ways to support them with their immediate needs.”

Staff of SOS Children’s Villages who are presently in the western regions of Ukraine are making connections with local volunteer groups and organizations to start joint efforts to support thousands of children living in residential institutions in those regions.

Some SOS foster parents and children remain

Those foster families who remained at SOS Children’s Village Brovary are reported to be safe. Their movement was not possible due to a curfew in the region. Foster families who remained in their homes in Luhansk live in rural areas where there is no active fighting.

The town of Popasna, at the contact line in Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine, is under siege. Residents are reported to be safe and unharmed, however no supplies can be moved into the town. Prior to the siege, 15 persons (children and foster parents) managed to leave Popasna and found accommodation in Sievierodonetsk. They’ve reached out to SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine who immediately began providing them with supplies and psychological help. These foster families were not part of any programme of SOS Children’s Villages until now.

All other children and families, as well as staff of SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine are safe and unharmed. The staff in some areas of Kyiv are almost constantly staying in bomb shelters.

Emergency aid to children in residential care and IDPs

SOS Children’s Villages plans to partner with four local organizations to support children living in residential institutions and internally displaced people (IDPs) in western Ukraine. The organizations are located in four different regions: Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk and Zakarpattya. SOS Children’s Villages and the partner organizations plan to purchase and distribute supplies and offer psychosocial services to children in residential institutions and to internally displaced people.

“We are constantly being approached by many foster families from all over the country for support,” says Mr. Lukashov. “We will first offer support to the displaced foster families in the four regions where we will work with partners, and then expand to other regions where that would be possible. The support to internally displaced people is usually provided at train stations, centres for supports and at checkpoints. At the moment, there are enough supplies, but what is lacking is psychosocial support. We foresee that soon there will be need for accommodation and hygienic items.”

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