UNICEF is still there to protect children
The photographs captured by our teams in Ukraine and neighbouring countries echo images from 75 years ago when UNICEF was founded to support and protect children in the aftermath of World War II.
Over the past eight years, Ukraine has experienced escalating conflict that has already inflicted profound and lasting harm on children.
As of May 2022, 6 million people had been forced to flee Ukraine, finding safety in neighbouring countries. This includes some 2.2 million children who need humanitarian aid.
Now, the need to support and protect Ukraine’s children has only grown. While families moving across borders to stay safe is not new, UNICEF will stay and deliver for children.
Refugee children peer out the window of a makeshift hut whose walls are made from cardboard boxes.
A little girl peers out from a window as she waits inside an evacuation train to Poland, at Lviv train station.
Travelling to safety
By the end of World War II, the world had seen millions of families and children leaving their homes in search for safety, peace and protection.
In 2022, since the war in Ukraine began, families have flocked to train stations or taken to foot in long, dangerous and freezing journeys to reach safety. Once they cross the border they can finally receive essential support and protection from harm.
"The war (in Ukraine) has caused one of the fastest large-scale displacements of children since World War II."
A small displaced girl is wrapped in blankets and sits on a mound of other refugee belongings.
Young Valeria arrives in Romania with limited belongings seeking shelter
During this journey, keeping warm in harsh winter conditions is essential for children’s survival.
In 1946, refugee children wore clothes donated by the citizens of host countries to stay warm and protected in harsh conditions. In 2022, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, UNICEF is assisting children in a similar way by delivering warm clothes, blankets and other emergency supplies in Ukraine.
In response to ongoing and urgent needs, our teams on the ground are delivering life-saving supplies to children and families. Make a tax-deductible donation and help to deliver life-saving supplies to children in Ukraine.
Receiving essential supplies
Conflict has devastating consequences for children's access to basic services in Ukraine, just like it did 75 years ago.
Many children are living underground or escaping to rural areas to find safety and shelter from the bombing, with no idea when they can return home.
Across the Ukraine large numbers of local volunteers are coming together in solidarity, responding to conflict by converting public buildings into assistance centres, creating safe spaces for children and new mothers in train stations and distributing essential supplies.
A nun serves bowls of soup to a group of children who get their only meal for the day at this UNRRA-supplied kitchen.
Volunteers provide supplies to children and families arriving at the border crossing point.
UNICEF continues to work with local partners to provide, water, sanitation and education supplies for children of all ages.
We know that keeping children safe, healthy and experiencing moments of normalcy in such extreme circumstances is essential in their recovery from trauma.
Three boys affected by World War II receive aid and support to continue learning in a school.
Children draw and make postcards in the Kharkiv metro.
Finding relief in Blue Dot centres
When conflict and displacement occur, women and children are at increased risk of gender-based violence, abuse, psychological distress, and family separation.
Many of the displaced children that UNICEF support are often in shock, confused, and exhausted when they finally reach shelter.
A refugee family returning from Rudki, rests on a pile of their belongings.
Mikhail holds his daughter, while sitting next to his other children inside a tent.
To support the hundreds of thousands of families and children fleeing Ukraine today, UNICEF has a unique and effective solution.
In collaboration with local authorities in refuge countries, UNICEF and it’s partners have set up safe places at border crossings for children and families.
‘Blue Dot’ centres provide respite, allowing families to reunite or rest in a safe space before travelling to their next destination.
Refugee children, including two boys in a toy wagon made from salvaged wood.
Anastasia poses for a photograph with her new toy while in the UNICEF-supported Blue Dot centre
At Blue Dots, services include safe spaces for mothers, babies and children to learn, play and receive medical and psychosocial first aid.
Families also receive legal services, protection of unaccompanied children, reunification services, access to accommodation and transport support for the travel onwards.
UNICEF is helping children and families in crisis
Workers unload a shipment of 60,000 hatching eggs from a Veterans' Air Lines aeroplane in Prague.
Boxes of medical, educational and recreation supplies are delivered to a children’s hospital.
Wherever children are caught in emergencies, UNICEF works to uphold their fundamental rights to protection, health care and education. We can get supplies to children within 48 hours.
UNICEF has been working in Europe for more than 75 years and we continue to stay and protect children, no matter what. Our teams are working day and night to supply safe water and prepositioning health, hygiene and emergency education supplies to children and families in Ukraine.
By giving to our Ukraine Emergency Appeal, you can be a lifeline for Ukrainian children and families.
The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was created in 1943 to assist with relief operations and global recovery from the devastation of World War II. Focusing primarily on Europe and China, it finally closed in 1949 as its mandate was subsumed in the long-term development work of other United Nations agencies. UNRRA's work for children was taken over by UNICEF, created on 11 December 1946.
Become a Global Parent
For every child in crisis.
Stay up-to-date on UNICEF's work in Australia and around the world
15 Mar 2023
What would it take to make Australia an even greater place to be a child? 3 things you need to know.
What would it take to make Australia the best place to grow up? That’s a question UNICEF Australia and ARACY (Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth) are working to understand. We share a common goal: for all children and young people in Australia to have every opportunity to thrive.
15 Mar 2023
“I know this decision is one I'll never regret.”
The world is chaos and we have no idea what's going to happen but one thing I'm absolutely certain about is that children will need help and that UNICEF will be there for them.
14 Mar 2023
Twelve faces of Syria: children who have known nothing but war
It has been 12 years since the onset of the war in Syria. These 12 children have known nothing but conflict, yet still, they hold hope for a better tomorrow.
13 Mar 2023
Cooking for change: locals bringing hope to the people of Ukraine
Everyday Australians are participating in #CookForUkraine to raise much needed funds to support children and their families impacted by the war.
7 Mar 2023
Children at risk after a double climate disaster in Vanuatu
Two tropical cyclones, Judy and Kevin, and an earthquake destroyed children’s homes and schools in the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu.
24 Feb 2023
In photos: 365 days of strength and courage
It's been over 365 days since war broke out in Ukraine. See how children, communities and humanitarian workers have come together with strength and courage to rebuild lives.
21 Feb 2023
Far from home: Ukraine to Australia
As we mark one year since the war in Ukraine begun, we hear the stories of those who left their whole lives behind to find refuge in Australia. These Ukrainians look back on a tumultuous year of heartache and new beginnings.
14 Feb 2023
Ukraine: one year on
24 February 2023 marks one year of the war. An anniversary no one wanted to reach. But it’s also been 365 days of strength, courage and love.
6 Feb 2023
Heartbreak at the Syria-Türkiye border earthquake
People gather around collapsed buildings as rescue teams look for survivors following an earthquake in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
22 Jan 2023
Something to smile about
Smiling is contagious. These happy children and young people from around the world are sure to put a smile on your face. Find out what has been making children smile this past year.