The war in eastern Ukraine has left heartbreaking scars on an entire generation of children. Since the conflict’s beginning in 2014, thousands of Ukrainian children have been displaced, left without parents, homes, and innocence.
Many children have fled their homes in search of safety in makeshift camps or on their own. In many cases, their parents were killed in the conflict. For the lucky ones, their families managed to escape physical harm, but still fell victims of displacement and poverty, caused by the destruction of the local economy and infrastructure.
The psychological toll of the conflict is especially damaging for the children. Many of them show post-traumatic stress signs and experience behavioral changes, aggression, apathy, fear and mistrust. The lack of mental health care only add to their distress.
In spite of it all, the Ukrainian children show incredible resilience, courage and hope. With the assistance of UNICEF and other organizations, they receive temporary education, nutrition and medical assistance. The Ukrainian government and the international community are also helping by setting up refugee camps, support networks for vulnerable families, and special psychosocial programs for children.
Not all of the wounds can be healed with time and help, but Ukrainian children continue to strive for a better future. Knowing the exact number of children affected by the war is difficult, but one thing is for sure – their stories will not be forgotten.