Every war is a war against children. In the following sections you will find a non-exhaustive and compact summary of Save the Children's activities in Ukraine, neighbouring countries and in Switzerland.

Save the Children provides humanitarian aid in Ukraine and in the neighboring countries.

In Ukraine, in the middle of Europe, there is war. There have already been more than 6500 civilian deaths – including over 400 children – and over 10,000 people have been injured so far. Meanwhile, more than 7.91 million people have fled to other European countries, and another 6.6 million within the country. Countless families have been torn apart.

Our teams are working to meet the huge need: in Ukraine itself and in the neighboring countries like Poland, Romania and Moldova, as well as in Lithuania and Switzerland. Read more below.

7.91 Mio.

People have already fled Ukraine.*

Winter makes the situation worse

Forced to melt snow for water and heat bricks for warmth: This is the difficult reality for families in Ukraine. In January, temperatures dropped to as low as -15 °C in many parts of the country. Many parents are struggling to keep their homes and children warm. This is because, following an escalation of attacks last October, half of Ukraine’s power generation capacity and about 40 % of the electricity grids were damaged, according to the Ukrainian government. The blackouts now affect the whole country and last 8 to 12 hours a day.

Power supply critical for hospitals

While hospitals and schools are being prioritised for energy supply, many still run fuel generators to ensure they are stable and functioning.  A director for the district hospital in Sumy oblast, said: “A child that is born in cold conditions needs special protection. If the hospital cools down [due to a loss of power], we can only operate for a few hours a day. After that, we will only be able to provide first aid and await the evacuation.”

The hospital serves about 600 patients a day and delivers almost 400 babies every year. Save the Children helped the hospital buy and install a solid-fuel boiler to keep the wards, operation units and delivery rooms warm during an emergency.

Winter just as devastating as missiles and artillery fire

Sonia Khush, Save the Children Country Director in Ukraine, said: «People in Ukraine are now facing possibly the most difficult winter in their lifetime and many parents are struggling to keep their children warm in semi-destroyed homes, with no electricity or heating amidst constant power outages and ongoing hostilities.» According to her it is a matter of life or death if families can’t heat their homes. But as long as attacks against energy infrastructure continue, this winter may appear as devastating for children and displaced families in Ukraine, as are missiles and artillery fire.

To keep children and their families in Ukraine warm this winter, we are working with local partners to provide shelter, heaters, and heating materials. We are also distributing food, baby and hygiene kits, winter clothing and warm blankets to war-affected children and their families in our projects. More life-saving suppor is urgently needed.

Parents are struggling to keep their children warm in semi-destroyed homes, with no electricity or heating amidst constant power outages and ongoing hostilities.

Sonia Khush Country Director of Save the Children in Ukraine

Current: Life-saving help on site

Our staff members are working from various locations in Ukraine including our previous areas of operation in Kiev, Donetsk and Sloviansk. We have set up new bases in Lviv, Chernivtsi and Uzghurod and we are working our way via Vinnytsya to Dinipro in the East. We have on-boarded 23 new partners through which we work in Zaporizhia, Kremenchug and Poltava and in different towns in the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast.

Our new footprint gives us logistical staging hubs all the way from Lviv, Uzghurod, Chernivtsi and Odessa in the south-west of Ukraine to the main cities around the contact line in the east. The team has delivered food assistance in Chernitsvi and 230 tonnes of high-energy biscuits are on their way to Odessa.

In Mykolaiv, in the heavily contested south of Ukraine, we are supporting the children's hospital with urgently needed medical equipment and supplies. Together with our partner Crown Agents, a non-profit international development company in Ukraine, we are delivering more than 60,000 sets of first aid materials for distribution to hospitals and other primary care providers. These medical supplies are used to stop bleeding and treat injuries, including bandages and tourniquets. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, they are among the most urgent items currently needed to treat the many injured.

In Kramatorsk, in the Donetsk region about 200 km north of Mariupol, we initially provided 9,000 litres of drinking water for about 1,300 families. The delivery is part of our aid around clean water and hygiene measures, which we coordinate together with other aid organisations in Ukraine. Where it is needed, we set up drinking water vending machines or distribute large drinking water canisters and water bottles, as in Kramatorsk.

Save the Children supports the Ukrainian authorities, among other things, in improving the country's online learning system so that children continue to have access to education. But the internet is poor when children are on the run or in disputed areas - they have no chance of getting any classes. That is why we are also distributing packages of toys and teaching materials to children who cannot leave their refuge and setting up digital learning centres in emergency shelters.

Over 106'786 people have already been forced to flee across the border to Romania.* There are five asylum centres in Romania. Save the Children provides social, recreational and educational services in the form of child-friendly spaces and mother-baby areas in asylum centres, reception centres and major transport hubs such as Bucharest North Railway Station. The team has set up more child-friendly spaces at the Siret border crossing and at the Romexpo convention centre in Bucharest, which is being converted into a shelter for refugees.

Save the Children also provides ongoing support to asylum seekers in the reception and processing centres, including activities in child-friendly spaces, psychosocial counselling, and material support.

Furthermore, food, sim cards for phones, toys, nappies and other hygiene items are distributed to the children and their carers, as well as psychosocial support and child protection.

We have been able to reach about 129 000 people, including 75 000 children, with our help so far. In the Republic of Moldova, which has taken in the most refugees per capita, we sent mainly hygiene products from Romania, which were distributed in about 100 refugee shelters.

Over 1.55 million people have already been forced to flee across the border to Poland.* In Poland, we established a country office within a few weeks and have been registered there as a foundation since mid-April 2022. This allows us to help more quickly and effectively. We also support refugee families in Poland with cash payments so that they can provide themselves with the most basic necessities.

Near Krakow, together with a local partner, we have opened a Ukrainian school where refugee children can continue their studies. In six reception centres along the Polish-Ukrainian border, children can recover from the strains of flight and their often traumatic experiences and play together in peace in our safe shelters and play areas. We are also supporting 20 digital learning centers and distributing around 600 tablets to our partners so that together we can ensure that children continue to have access to schooling.

In Lithuania there is a temporary migrant centre in Alytus (city between the Polish border and Vilnius): This is the starting point for migrants who do not know where to go. In this migrant centre, Save the Children works with other NGOs, the Ministry of Interior, with the border police as well as the local municipality. Migrants can stay here for a short time, sleep, receive food and necessities. Furthermore, A call centre has been set up so that refugees who are at a loss can get in touch.

Save the Children has the official mandate to care for children and pregnant women. Among other things, child-friendly rooms are set up for this purpose. In Alytus, there is a local day-care centre for children, which is run by Save the Children.In Marijampole, a second migration centre is planned by the government.

Another child-friendly space is opened in Kaunas. Save the Children works in all six registration centres. The team distributes essential non-food items and provides social and referral services.


Since February 2022, over 77 045 refugees from Ukraine got registered in Switzerland. The rapid increase in refugee arrivals and the uncertainty regarding the duration of the war put considerable pressure on the Swiss asylum system. This has implications for the protection and well-being of all refugee children, whereby children with special needs and unaccompanied by their parents being particularly vulnerable. Save the Children supports refugee children from Ukraine in Switzerland with the following activities:

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1. Empowerment of refugee children through creative activities Many parents speak about their children feeling restlessness, being afraid and experiencing further psychological stress due to their experiences and the current situation. Unfortunately, asylum centers often lack places for children to play or relax. Thus, Save the Children Switzerland supports asylum shelters in Switzerland with family kits (learning & play instructions, pencils, etc.), information materials in Ukrainian or Russian (relaxation exercises, etc.) and with trauma kits.

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2. Strengthening child protection and child-friendly accommodation Currently, new temporary shelters are being opened at a rapid pace, but sometimes in buildings that are not suitable for children. We strengthen child protection by conducting consultations on making facilities more child-friendly and provide material and technical support for the implementation of the improvement measures.

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3. Professional support For host families that accommodate minors and families, there are no binding national standards that could be implemented or verified in such a large number of host families and in a short period of time. Therefore, we support organizations, who accompany host families or establish further accommodation or care services, with our professional expertise.

Further, our aim is to respond to the needs of all refugee children and their families by expanding our work in the coming years with regard to child-friendly accommodation and care standards in the asylum sector (e.g. accompanying the establishment of child-friendly spaces and activities, and strengthening low-threshold parental work in the asylum sector) as well as develop minimum standards for all refugee children in Switzerland. This will benefit Ukrainian as well as all other refugee children and their families.


Having a huge network worldwide, Save the Children is always amongst the first humanitarian organisations to provide life-saving aid for children and their families on the ground in emergencies and crisis, and has been active in Ukraine since 2014.

Children in eastern Ukraine have already suffered eight years of shelling and violence. Many have been driven from their homes. Airstrikes and explosions have damaged important facilities such as schools and hospitals. Since 24th February, 2022 alomst six million people have crossed the borders from Ukraine into neighbouring countries – including about three million children. The impact of the conflict on children is devastating. As this war rages, our crisis response in Ukraine aims to reach 3.5 million vulnerable children and their families.

*Source: UNHCR – http://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/ukraine

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Having a huge network worldwide, Save the Children is always amongst the first humanitarian organisations to provide life-saving aid for children and their families on the ground in emergencies and crisis, and has been active in Ukraine since 2014.