Five ways your donations are helping people affected by the conflict in Ukraine

Oksana and her baby

Oksana*, 28, and her daughter in their room in a shelter at a church funded by Christian Aid on the outskirts of Lviv, Ukraine. Image: Kasia Strek/DEC

On 3 March 2022, the DEC launched an urgent appeal to help people affected by the escalating conflict in Ukraine.

Six months on, the DEC appeal has raised over £380 million, thanks to the generosity of the UK public and the £25 million matched by the UK Government. 

With these donations, DEC charities have been able to reach hundreds of thousands of people since the launch of the appeal, providing life-saving food, cash, medical care, and much more, both in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. 

Here are just a few of the ways people whose lives have been turned qupside down by this devastating conflict have been supported with DEC funds and by DEC member charities. *Some names have been changed to protect identities. 

Inna & Svitlana sitting speaking to the DEC

Inna and Svitlana in a hotel being used to house refugees in Bucharest, Romania. George Calin/DEC

Helping Inna with her medical bills 

Inna and Svitlana are best friends, but really, are more like sisters. Since the conflict started, they haven’t spent a single night apart. Like hundreds of thousands of others, they were forced to flee their homes in Ukraine when the conflict started, leaving their husbands behind. 

Inna’s husband is a farmer, but he doesn’t know whether it’s even worth harvesting his crop as he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to sell or ship it. This leaves Inna with no form of income and unable to pay for essentials, like medical bills for her son, who has a liver condition.   

Now staying in Bucharest, Romania, Inna and Svitlana are being supported by Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), a local partner of DEC member CAFOD. Using DEC funds, JRS have been able provide Inna with the expenses for her son’s medical treatment. 

DEC funds have helped Ukrainian refugees like Inna and Svitlana in Romania, Poland, Moldova and Hungary with accommodation, medical and psychological support, food and other essentials.  

Children playing at the START Centre, Lviv

Anna plays with a child displaced by the conflict at the START centre in Lviv, Ukraine. Credit: Kasia Strek/DEC

Supporting children with complex needs  

Anna is the head of START, a children’s support centre in Lviv, Ukraine. She has 12-year-old son with autism and a seven-year-old daughter, so she understands that leaving home with children is hard, and that it is twice as hard to do it all with children who have disabilities. 

START provides professional psychologists, development teachers, behavioural psychologists, speech therapists and even physical rehabilitation for children. 

The programme had been running for two years previously, but once the conflict started, and people displaced by the conflict started arriving in Lviv in their thousands, Anna saw there were many more families who needed support.  

Now the centre is receiving funding from DEC charity Christian Aid through a local partner, thanks to donations to the DEC appeal.  

The funding is through a flexible grants scheme that helps local people provide essential services for families displaced by the conflict, especially the most vulnerable people in society. 

Anastasia sits on bench in a park

Anastasia sits in a former summer camp in Moldova which has been converted into a centre for refugees from Ukraine. Credit: Andreea Campeanu/DEC

Psycological support for Anastasia 

Anastasia is 14 and comes from Zaporizhzhia city in south-eastern Ukraine. At the moment she lives with her mum in a refugee centre in Moldova, organised in a former summer camp.  Living in the camp has given Anatasia the chance to make friends, they have fun together going for walks and playing cards.  

Every week Anastasia takes part in educational and psychological activities organised by DEC-funded mobile teams of Plan International and the National Centre for the Prevention of Child Abuse Moldova (CNPAC). 

One of Anastasia’s favourite activities is accessing the 12+ platform, which is being supported by Plan International. The platform provides advice on being emotionally aware, how to develop mindfulness, information on the kind of support available, and the opportunity to engage with a live psychologist through an online chat feature, all valuable tools in attempting to deal with the trauma of fleeing conflict.  

Anastasia and many other teenagers who have been forced to flee Ukraine, leaving everything behind, are growing up in an unfamiliar environment. But they are still teenagers and need spaces to access information and advice, helping them to navigate life’s everyday challenges, even when theirs have been put on hold by things out of their control.  

Mohammed* & Samad*

Mohammad* and Samad* in Romania in March 2022, shortly after crossing the border from Ukraine. Credit: Pedro Armestre/Save the Children

Supporting families at the border 

Mohammad* used to live and work in Ukraine, while his family was based in Kandahar, Afghanistan. His wife, son Samad*, and two of his children fled Afghanistan due to the escalation of conflict there, and joined him in Ukraine, where they lived together for six months. 

But the family was displaced once again due to the conflict in Ukraine. Just like when they fled Afghanistan, they had to lock up their house and leave everything behind. By the time they crossed the border into Romania, Samad* had been separated from his friends and was worried about his education, his family and his future.  

When they arrived at the border Mohammad* and his family were supported by Save the Children, who run temporary shelters for refugees and child-friendly spaces to help children with trauma.  

Save the Children provided Mohammed*, Samad* and their family with food, shoes, hygiene items and information on asylum procedures to help them find a new place to call home.   

24/02/23 Update: Find out how donations are helping one year on from the start of the conflict here.