Two years on, there is rising hope even as Ukraine's children face enormous challenges
The ongoing war in Ukraine impacted the lives of 14.6 million people according to UNOCHA's 2024 Humanitarian Needs Overview, at least 3.3 million people live in frontline communities, including those in the occupied territories. An estimated 4 million Ukrainians are internally displaced, over 100,000 live in collective sites.
Two years on, World Vision's humanitarian response to the crisis has spanned four countries working with 28 partners: Ukraine, Romania, Moldova and Georgia, providing for the needs of over 1.6 million people, almost half of them are children. These include the internally displaced, refugees and host families.
A new humanitarian player in Ukraine, World Vision works with national and international partners across 24 regions assisting 1,020,038 internally displaced coming from the frontlines.
World Vision operates in Romania for more than 30 years, and delivered assistance on the first weeks of the war. The response supported 301,114 refugees, host families and institutions through 17 partners in 13 municipalities.
Moldova rose to welcome refugees where World Vision was registered to operate in May 2022. Supported by 10 partners in 33 districts, World Vision assisted 263,631 refugees and host families. It is the sole partner of the World Food Programme, directly implementing cash program in 18 districts.
World Vision is one of the leading advocates on children’s rights in Georgia with over 20 years of work in the country. It has been providing assistance to 23,419 Ukrainian refugees in four districts.
Ukraine's children and families deserve better.
World Vision is responding to the needs of Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced, and host communities.
The war in Ukraine that started on 24 February 2022 brought unimaginable suffering and pain to over 17 million Ukrainians, many are women and children. Over a year on, World Vision's assistance has reached over 1.3 million people, almost half are children and the most vulnerable.
Response Director Chris Palusky: “Children are struggling to cope with trauma piled on top of trauma. Based on the experiences of other children and families affected by conflict, we can expect that over 1.5 million children in Ukraine may develop depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder or schizophrenia as a result of their experiences during the war."
We at World Vision continue to call on all sides to promote peace.
World Vision’s work in Eastern Europe
Our teams have been present in Eastern Europe for decades responding to natural disasters, conflict, refugee movements, economic hardships and the educational, physical and emotional needs of extremely vulnerable children.
Our response to the crisis in Ukraine began by assisting families fleeing to Romania, where we worked since 1990 following the fall of communism. In the past 30 years, World Vision Romania has supported more than 560,000 children from 500 rural communities. In the first month of the crisis, we have rapidly expanded to reach some of the most vulnerable families in Ukraine itself, as well as in Moldova.
Last year, we supported 3.2 million people across the Middle East and Eastern Europe with emergency response programmes and we have already reached almost 50,000 children and families for this crisis as well, with a focus on protecting the most vulnerable.
How does World Vision respond to emergencies?
World Vision teams have been responding to humanitarian needs for more than 70 years and we are present in 100 countries. When emergencies strike, local World Vision staff partner with global humanitarian specialists and churches in the disaster zone to respond at scale.
What is World Vision doing to help families impacted by this crisis?
World Vision is supporting refugees in Romania, Moldova and Georgia while helping the displaced families Ukraine.
We are engaging closely with the U.N. and other partners to closely monitor the unfolding crisis and its potential humanitarian demands.
We also support our offices across the region, including Georgia, where we're partnering with UNHCR to run shelters, and are helping Ukrainian children process their experiences and enrol in local schools. We know that the impacts of this crisis, from both a humanitarian and economic perspective, may have a significant ripple effect.
How can you help children and families impacted by this crisis?
Donate to help children and families forcibly displaced by the crisis in Ukraine.
Pray for peace to be restored quickly and that children and families will be protected from harm.
Advocate and add your voice to call for peace in Ukraine and protection for affected children and their families.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the situation facing children?
We are deeply concerned about the impact of this crisis on vulnerable children and their families. We are witnessing significant forced displacement within Ukraine and to neighbouring countries. Additionally the economic impact of the crisis threatens to have a severe impact on oil and commodity prices, potentially deepening child poverty far beyond Eastern Europe. As always, children are the most affected by the conflicts.
What is World Vision's ability to reach the affected people?
World Vision is building a multi-country, multi-year response to meet the needs of people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine and those trapped or displaced within the country. We have been responding in Romania and Georgia from the very start of the crisis and have quickly expanded to reach the most affected families. In Ukraine, we have been supporting hospitals across the border from Romania who are trying to meet the needs of families displaced by the conflict, and are working with a range of faith and local organisations to put in place aid pipelines and logistics to support vulnerable and displaced populations further within Ukraine. In Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, and who has taken the largest number of refugees per capita, we’re supporting vulnerable families in both the host and refugee communities. We will continue to respond based on careful assessments of the fast-moving situation on the ground.
Is there a role for churches in Ukraine?
As a Christian organisation, we have decades of experience mobilising communities of faith to play their part in restoring peace and wellness, and we will seek to engage churches and faith groups to serve. We are partnering with faith groups and churches in Ukraine and Moldova to reach children and their families with essential aid. Our Romanian office has been working with faith leaders there for decades, and we will continue to work with all people of goodwill to save lives and livelihoods, help those who have lost homes and communities, and to protect the vulnerable.
Tragically, we live in a world of broken relationships where injustice, inequality, corruption, and disasters rob millions of their lives, their health and their futures. In World Vision, together with children and communities, we seek to uncover the deeper, often hidden, social, cultural and spiritual issues that prevent children from enjoying life in all its fullness.
What is World Vision doing to help families impacted by the crisis?
World Vision has been responding from the start of this conflict, providing hot drinks and liaison services at the border, equipping safe, warm spaces for children to play in processing centres and supporting shelters in Romania, Ukraine and Moldova to help children and families fleeing the conflict.
We are currently responding in Ukraine, Romania, Georgia and Moldova, and are partnering with local organisations to quickly scale up and reach the most vulnerable families fleeing the conflict. Our programmes are and will target the most vulnerable children and women with: non-food items and cash assistance; child protection and anti-trafficking programmes; mental and psychosocial support; and education.