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Since the beginning of the escalation of conflict in Ukraine, Concern Worldwide has been supporting the humanitarian needs of Ukrainian people affected by the conflict.
The damage done to Ukraine cannot be understated. More than 18 million people have been displaced in Ukraine since the escalation of the conflict in February 2022. This also includes 6.7 million people who have fled to other countries. Many displaced Ukrainians experience poor living standards with significant security risks and have been forced to live in overcrowded, unhygienic and unsafe conditions. This is also against a context of widespread death and destruction to communities across the country.
The scale of response needed is huge and in order to support communities in Ukraine affected by the conflict with essentials like food, shelter, medicine and psychosocial support, Concern has been working alongside several partners.
Here, we place a spotlight on some of the organisations we have partnered with and the incredible work they’re doing.
We are Brothers (WaB) and our work in eastern Ukraine
As part of our work in Ukraine, we’ve been working to support people living in eastern Ukraine in Kharkiv, a region close to the Russian border that has been heavily bombarded since the early days of the conflict. Day-to-day life in Kharkiv city, the administrative centre of the region, can be bleak. Air raid sirens sound at least a couple of times a day and citizens live in constant fear of bombardment. Unfortunately, as is the case in many other conflicts, Ukrainian children face unique problems.
Providing a stable education for children living in Kharkiv remains a considerable challenge as children have been affected by the conflict, with many experiencing anxiety and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) induced by the trauma of conflict.
We are working with We are Brothers (WaB), a community led organisation established after the beginning of the conflict. WaB is focused on meeting the needs of Ukrainians experiencing the conflict and finding ways to support them that will have the most impact.
Dariya Khneblikova heads up WaB’s programmes to renovate and repair damaged schools and houses, as well as provide meals, food and hygiene kits to those who need it most. WaB also provide cash payments to families and supply and deliver goods – even braving conflict damaged roads to reach their goals. Amid the airstrikes, WaB have also arranged evacuations from areas under bombardment, supporting people displaced by the fighting in shelters and collection centres.
The work of WaB also extends towards the aforementioned affected children in Kharkiv, as well as in Donetsk, another city in eastern Ukraine. Dariya’s programme offers psychosocial support to children impacted by the conflict, but also provides opportunities for Ukrainian children to socialise.
To help the children, Dariya renovated a basement into becoming a play centre, nursery and classroom and decorated the space with beautiful murals and lighting to make the room a more welcoming and bright space for the children.
Joint Emergency Response in Ukraine (JERU)
The Joint Emergency Response in Ukraine (JERU) is a unique partnership between Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe (WHH), a German charity that addresses pressing humanitarian relief. JERU was established to allow the efficient delivery of rapid support and services to people affected by the conflict in Ukraine. JERU itself work directly with local organisations to deliver humanitarian relief where need is greatest.
Organisations like Sumy Public Circle (SPC) are one of our local Ukrainian partners, and has grown from a small community based organisation to a critical local institution that provides support throughout the entire Sumy region. Running since 2016, SPC supports decentralised planning for local development and in the wake of the escalation of conflict in February 2022, it has scaled up its operations to include supporting people with cash payments and psychosocial counselling.
Also essential to our response in Ukraine, are our Alliance2015 partners, a group of European non-government organisations. Including WHH among its ranks, we also work with another member, Italian NGO Cesvi, to provide support in the western regions of Ukraine.
How Concern is responding to the crisis in Ukraine
Concern Worldwide is working to provide life-saving aid to the people in Ukraine most impacted by the violence and disruption. Our work with these local partners enables us to respond rapidly and efficiently to the crisis and to provide:
- Cash assistance – for rent and other essentials
- Survival kits – including bedding, blankets, cutlery and tableware
- Hygiene kits – including toilet paper, soap and other cleaning items
- Baby kits – including nappies, wipes and soaps
- Psychosocial support -- Mobile teams of psychologists are making regular visits to schools and Collective Centres to provide psychosocial support to those affected by the conflict.
Within the first year of conflict, we helped 65,000 internally displaced people in Ukraine. Part of this work includes supporting families with ready to eat food kits, as well as providing support to hosting facilities and centres in western Ukraine for displaced people, sharing items such as mattresses, blankets and upgrading sanitation or heating systems.