Relief for parents raising children with disabilities

Oleksandr and his son Makar. UNICEF

Ukraine | 2023 | CERF

Ukraine, Kharkiv – Oleksandr and Venera rent a small room in a hostel in Kharkiv’s suburbs. Amid the devastating war in Ukraine, their priority has always been their two-year-old son Makar, who has Down’s syndrome. After losing their jobs because of the war, hope has been in short supply.

Now a cash assistance programme from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) means they can once again work towards building a better future for him.

When the war broke out, the family hid in a basement. As the shells exploded, Oleksandr and Venera tried hard to stay calm so that Makar would not be scared. Oleksandr lost his job in construction soon after. Overnight, the family found themselves struggling to afford the basics.

In March 2022, UNICEF launched a joint humanitarian cash assistance programme with the Ministry of Social Policy. The programme is supported by donors including the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), and aims to help families with children who are worst affected by the war in Ukraine.

“I saw an article about UNICEF’s financial assistance on social media and applied,” says Venera. “In three weeks, about 20,000 UAH was transferred to my account.” The money helped the family pay rent and buy medicine, vitamins, diapers and food. They also bought Makar some toys.

“The money from UNICEF helped us to survive a few months,” adds Venera. In six months, Makar will turn three and start a course of developmental classes with specialists.

By the end of 2022, 200,000 families in Ukraine had received cash transfers, amounting to US$ 191 million. This means that over 560,000 children have been helped, including 50,000 children with disabilities.

Original Story (UNICEF)

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