Foster families and children from Kharkiv relocated to Western Ukraine

Wednesday, July 3, 2024
Foster families and children from Kharkiv relocated to Western Ukraine


Escalating violence and shelling in Ukraine’s northeastern province of Kharkivska led the government to call for an evacuation of people to safer regions in the west. SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine supported the evacuation of 17 foster families, providing them with safe accommodations for at least three months. 


Fifty children and 25 foster parents arrived safely in a secure region at the end of May. They were welcomed by the staff of SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine, along with social services and non-governmental partners. These families are receiving psychosocial support and will be given options to remain in a safe area throughout the summer. 


In early June, another group consisting of 16 parents and 31 children were given temporary accommodation in the Volyn region, bringing the total number of people supported to 122.  


Tatiana, a mother of two children, Sofia* and Kirill*, expressed her gratitude:  


"Honestly, there are no words... emotions overwhelm the children. They live in such difficult times. It is so hard to stay positive, to believe in miracles, in humanity, but what SOS Children’s Villages is doing for the children is a real fairy tale.


“Children can sleep all night. They don’t hear the air raid alarm, don’t twitch because of its sound, don’t track messages in the radar about the direction of the missiles and the danger, and don’t hear the drones. Instead, they will spend these days as normal children enjoying the mountains, nature, and normal living conditions. A huge parental thank you! Words cannot express my gratitude."  


Summer camp provides relief


In early June, an additional 101 children and young people arrived at a children's summer camp sponsored by SOS Children’s Villages. Located in the Ivano-Frankivsk region, they will stay at the camp for most of the month. The camp provides a structured program to help children cope with their experiences, including emotional stabilization and recovery activities. Psychologists from the mobile mental health clinics in Kharkiv and Ivano-Frankivsk work with children on-site. 


Not much time has passed, and the children have already made new friends. A swimming pool and excursions to the picturesque nature of Prykarpattia are part of their activities.  


"It's like we're on another planet, and the most important thing is that it's quiet here. There are no air raid alarms, and you can walk freely. They feed us delicious food and even give us an extra portion!" said 10-year-old Sashko*, reflecting on his early days at the camp. 


Finding longer-term solutions


Since Russia's latest offensive began early last month, Kharkiv and its surrounding areas have experienced severe bombardments. A missile strike on an apartment building in the city of Kharkiv on the night of May 30-31 resulted in at least nine people killed and 20 injured. Further attacks on villages, such as the missile strike in Balakliia on May 31-June 1, left several people, including children and a pregnant woman, injured. 


Due to the worsening situation, the government requested assistance from Ukrainian and international NGOs and humanitarian organizations to help evacuate and provide temporary accommodation for the most vulnerable, including foster families. 


SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine will support these families for three months. Meanwhile, local authorities will help them find more permanent accommodations in their communities. 


With your ongoing support, SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine has provided services to more than 385,000 people during more than two years of war. 


*Names changed to protect privacy. 

Canadians wishing to help vulnerable children are encouraged to sponsor a child, sponsor an SOS Village or make a one-time donation. Your support will change the lives of orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children. Please help today.