Education and trauma help for children living in Ukraine war zone

Ukraine Conflict Schools 1
Sandbags in the background reinforce the windows in this Ukrainian classroom and are intended to prevent them from shattering during frequent shelling (UNICEF / Hetman)

Children in conflicts, Education Cannot Wait, Education funding, Education in emergencies, Safe schools, Safe Schools Declaration, Teachers and learning

A new project will help 13,800 children and young people with school supplies and psychological support.

Along the front line of the conflict in Ukraine is a buffer zone – the so-called “contact line” where armed clashes happen every day.

Inside that buffer zone live 200,000 children, trying to get on with their lives and going to school despite the ongoing violence and trauma.

A new project – funded by the European Union and run by UNICEF – will help 13,800 children and young people with vital education and protection services.

The $575,000 of funding will also provide essential school supplies – including 4800 education kits for school-aged children, 350 kits for kindergartens, school furniture and educational games. The supplies will help equip 30 schools, reaching 8300 children.

Ukraine Conflict School 2

Conflict has destroyed many classrooms leaving children unable to attend school (Alex Kuhni)

UNICEF will also provide specialised training to more than 350 teachers and school psychologists to address the emotional needs of children.

“Providing educational opportunities for children and youth affected by the conflict, and addressing the trauma that many of them have experienced, is a priority of the EU’s humanitarian aid to Ukraine,” said  Hugues Mingarelli, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine. 

“We must help these children and young people caught in situations of emergency regain a sense of normality and give them stability and hope for the future.”

More than 740 schools – one in five in eastern Ukraine – have been damaged or destroyed since the conflict began in 2014.

In April, UNICEF said more than 200,000 children needed urgent and sustained psychosocial support after living through more than three years of violence. They are in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, within 10 miles of each side of the “contact line”.

One in four children in eastern Ukraine are suffering from severe trauma and fear. Behavioural changes in children as young as three include severe anxiety, bed-wetting, nightmares, aggressive behaviour and withdrawing from families and communities.

UNICEF Ukraine’s Representative Giovanna Barberis said: “The EU has been vital in providing essential support to children who have been caught in conflict for more than three years. 

“Not only does this new grant provide critical services but it strengthens children’s resilience to cope in this volatile and unpredictable situation.”

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