In Ukraine, cash assistance helps rural elders

Oleksandr had to flee his home, leaving almost everything behind. Cash assistance helped families fleeing the war to replace some necessities in their new homes. Photo: FAO / Oleksii Kovalov.

Ukraine | 2023 | CERF

Ukraine, Dnipropetrovska oblast. A friendly black dog dashes around Liubov Yakovleva’s backyard farm , greeting any and all visitors with a wag of not just his tail but his entire body.

This four-legged friend, Karandash, helps keep Liubov from feeling lonely now that her husband has passed away and her children and grandchildren can only visit on holidays or vacations.

Liubov was born in a concentration camp in Germany during the Second World War. “I was born during the war, far from my native country. And now, at the end of my life, I face war again, in my homeland.”

Liubov never thought she would have to experience war again, but now her primary concern is for her children and grandchildren.

“My heart cries for all the children who, like me when I was a child, suffer from this war.”

School supplies for the grandchildren

In her small backyard, Liubov grows vegetables to support herself and her family. She doesn’t have much money for extras.

When she received cash assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) supported by CERF and other donors, she used it to buy food and household supplies and to support her  grandchildren, even though they live far away.

“I spent this money on my grandchildren. We bought school supplies, some food, and firewood for the winter heating season,” added Liubov.

“I didn’t even think I would get any money. I did not believe it at first,” said Liubov, with tears in her eyes. “I am grateful to FAO for this help and to everyone who helped me to apply for and receive the assistance.”

Setting up a new household

Oleksandr Myroshnychenko fled his home in Popasna, Luhanska oblast. He and his family also received multipurpose cash assistance.

“When we left Popasna, we took only the most essential things. I am retired. My wife worked at the glass factory in Popasna, but then she was laid off, so my pension was the only source of income,” said Oleksandr.

They used the money to get household supplies for their new home. “The cash assistance provided by FAO was absolutely crucial for us. We were able to buy a washing machine and a refrigerator, not new but in good condition. We are very grateful for the help.”

A helping hand for host communities

Halyna Voitiuk lives in Komisarivka village in Dnipropetrovska oblast. She takes care of two grandchildren who live with her. She is retired but grows vegetables and fruit to can ahead for the winter period.

Following the outbreak of war in February 2022, Halyna opened her doors to families in need. Right now, a couple with two young children who fled hostilities were staying with her.

“They are unlikely to be able to go home in the near future. The man has found a job in a neighbouring village, and the woman takes care of the kids,” said Halyna.

Halyna and the displaced family received assistance. With the multipurpose cash assistance from FAO, Halyna notes, “I bought my grandson a bicycle so that he can get to school and my granddaughter a tablet for her college studies. Before I could not buy them many things, so this assistance was really crucial.”

The cash assistance programme, supported by CERF and other donors, reached about 7,000 people in rural areas between summer 2022 and February 2023.

Original story: adapted from original articles by FAO Ukraine

More information about the CERF allocation.