Odessa is known by many to be one of the major targets of the Russian war in Ukraine. It has suffered bombardment and loss, but it is also a city that has opened its homes and services to thousands of internally displaced families fleeing Kyiv, Mariupol, Mykolaiv and Kherson. The economy is faltering, and more and more families are struggling to cover even their basic needs. As always, children are some of the most vulnerable in times of conflict, especially refugees, those living in institutions, and those separated from their families and communities.
Lumos is now expanding its emergency programmes throughout Ukraine. In Odessa, we're working with the Ukrainian organisation Peace Manifest as well as the regional Child Protection Office to provide 4,000 of the most vulnerable children in Odessa with essential supplies, such as food, hygiene and medical kits.
Peter McDermott, Lumos CEO, said: “Lumos continues to work hard to support the most vulnerable children and families of Ukraine. While we work with Ukrainian partners to meet the most urgent emergency needs of the most vulnerable children and their families – food, water, medical supplies and hygiene supplies - we are also assessing needs and planning for longer-term support for education and enhanced child protection measures for children caught up in and impacted by the war.
“Thanks to the many donors who have generously supported our emergency fundraising appeal, we’re pleased to now be expanding our help to Odessa, working with new partners to respond where the need is greatest. These families are facing the most horrendous of circumstances; it is vital that we collaborate effectively to ensure these children are protected and that families have the support they need to stay together.”
Inna Belous, Founder and Director of Peace Manifest, said: “Even during the war we are looking for ways to help kids with their development, but it can be done only when basic needs are covered. It's an honour for our organisation to be part of a project that gives support for families in need and brings opportunities for strengthening families."
Natalia Utupine, representative of the Child Protection Office in Odessa, said: “The effective cooperation of the Children's Service, Lumos and Peace Manifest will provide reliable support to children and families in difficult life circumstances. This will maximize the children's chances of staying in the family instead of being taken away and placed in an institution."