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Partner Spotlight: Comic Relief


Partner Spotlight: Comic Relief

We are so grateful to Comic Relief for their unwavering support. With their rapid response, we've been able to adapt swiftly to the evolving situation in Ukraine, ensuring urgent assistance reaches the most vulnerable children and families, safeguarding their safety and reducing the risk of family separation.

Lumos has been working to influence childcare reform in Ukraine since 2016, identifying the country as a priority with one of the highest rates of children in institutions in Europe. The war has further eroded the child protection system in Ukraine, with the destruction of care, health, and education systems and with qualified staff being displaced, injured or killed. Children trapped in institutions are the most vulnerable of all children and are at high risk of being displaced, leaving them open to abuse and trauma.

Through our collaborative efforts with Comic Relief, we're not only providing immediate humanitarian aid but also laying the groundwork for sustainable, long-term care reform. Our aim is to ensure every child in Ukraine has the fundamental right to grow up in a loving family environment.

Together, we have:

  • Distributed emergency aid: We have provided emergency packages containing food, hygiene and medical items to thousands of children without parental care in the Zhytomyr region of Ukraine. We have also supported the safe relocation of children from dangerous institutions (where appropriate) and provided emergency support packages to emergency foster carers.
  • Provided essential technical assistance: In Zhytomyr, we delivered a Train the Trainer programme on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support for displaced children, and supported the development of an Inclusive Education Action plan, transforming special education in the context and wake of the crisis.
  • Advocated for care transformation, nationally and internationally: We've maintained strong partnerships with government agencies, advocating for the shift away from institutional care and towards community-based support services. Furthermore, by playing a key role in the Ukraine Recovery Conference in 2023 and co-chairing the Ukraine International Advocacy Taskforce, we're ensuring child protection and care reform remains a top priority in recovery efforts.

Alla's Story

Alla, a devoted mother and caregiver to her four children, resides in the tranquil village of Zhytomyr Oblast, Ukraine. Her responsibilities include caring for her own kids, aged 6, 8, 10, and 15, as well as her niece.

In the face of financial challenges, Alla bears the sole burden of providing for her family, while her husband grapples with temporary unemployment. Their aging home, in need of refurbishment, stands as a symbol of their struggle. The absence of external assistance amplifies their predicament, and a dire lack of funds exacerbates their hardships.

In the midst of the country's turmoil, Alla battles not only to make ends meet but also to safeguard her family's mental well-being. The weight of worry for her children intensifies in these times of conflict.

When war forced many to flee, Alla faced a daunting choice but lacked the resources to embark on an uncertain journey with her four children. Support was scarce, and fear loomed large.

Expressing her gratitude to Lumos and our funding partners, Alla acknowledged the compassionate outreach extended to her family, who provided much-needed sustenance such as hygiene essentials, and school supplies. With these provisions, Alla anticipates a respite from financial strain, allowing them to redirect resources towards essential clothing, footwear, and other necessities for her children.

"Comic Relief are proud to have been supporting Lumos for a number of years. Comic Relief has provided Lumos with £300,000 since the start of the Ukraine crisis to enable them to provide assistance to the most vulnerable children and families in the region."

-Maya Smith, Comic Relief Portfolio Manager – Alleviating Effects of Poverty

Find out more about Comic Relief and their work.