Ukraine | 2022 | CERF
Ukraine, Kharkiv, Ternopil, Odesa. The war in Ukraine continues to cause large-scale displacement. Millions of people have moved internally or abroad, trying to find a safe and affordable place to live.
When a family flees their home, there is often little time – or space – to take more than a few necessities. People need financial support to cope and to start their lives from scratch, often in a new place far from home. Since February 2022, the Danish Refugee Council – with funding from the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund – has provided over 4,000 people with cash grants, and they continue to scale up.
Fleeing home – again
Eight years ago, Olena, 34, fled Donetsk city and settled in Kharkiv after conflict began in eastern Ukraine. But, after the massive bombings in February 2022, Olena, her husband and two children, aged two and eight, had to shelter in a Kharkiv subway station for two weeks along with hundreds of other people.
“Everyone thought this horror would end in a few days, but weeks passed, and the children started to get sick. It was cold there, and with so many people in enclosed space, the viruses spread quickly,” says Olena.
Olena and her family escaped to Ternopil Oblast in western Ukraine. With so many people on the move, demand for housing is high – and Olena and her family were lucky to find a village summer house. “We took only the essentials from Kharkiv. My husband lost his job, and I am on maternity leave – so we are short of money,” she explains.
With a grant from the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) she was able to buy groceries and clothes, and paid some utility bills. She also bought papers and pencils for the children and internet connection for their online schooling.
Kateryna, 35, had to take out loans to move her four children to a new city and apartment when fighting broke out. She used the cash grant from DRC to repay some of those loans and buy needed medicine for the kids. She also bought school supplies and paid some of the rent.
Sofia, 21, was pregnant when she and her boyfriend left Kramatorsk on an evacuation train. At first, they lived in a temporary shelter – as rent had doubled. The cash grant from DRC helped them prepare for the baby. “We bought winter clothes. Part of the sum was spent on rent. And we were able to buy necessities for a newborn, like a pram.” They live now in Odesa, in the south of Ukraine, and her boyfriend was able to find a job there.
Cash assistance is a critical element of humanitarian aid, because it gives people the flexibility to buy what they need – whether it’s food, shelter, medicines, internet access or paper and pencils for the kids. And these necessities have helped people get through difficult times.
More information on the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund: