The outbreak of the war in Ukraine in February 2022 forced millions of families to flee their homes in search of a safe refuge, protection and support. Since the beginning of the conflict, an estimated 17.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection across Ukraine (OCHA data updated in October 2023). Civilian infrastructures have been severely impacted, buildings destroyed in urban centers and thousands of houses damaged or demolished across the country. In total, there are 3.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and about 6 million refugees are still registered across Europe. Among them, most are women, girls and children.   

WeWorld immediately intervened in March 2022 to support people displaced from areas in the east of the country and to provide humanitarian aid by activating on-site partners early on and then organizing a stable emergency response in the country.  

Currently, WeWorld's operational offices in the country are in Kyiv, Kherson, Mykolayiv and Kharkiv. We work alongside those who, despite the ongoing conflict, have decided to stay, and those who have returned after abandoning their homes under attack. 

We are also active in Moldova, to support people who have decided to leave Ukraine.     

The context

According to UNHCR data, 4.5 million Ukrainians had returned to the country by November 2023. Nevertheless, 3.2 million refugees are still registered in neighbouring countries such as Moldova, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia. Added to this are the millions of internally displaced persons, mainly women, children and the elderly, who, in search of a safe place to live, are increasing in the frontline regions to the east of the country, where attacks continue to be commonplace. 

Almost two years after the start of the conflict, the situation for millions of internally displaced persons and refugees who have returned to Ukraine is even more complex. Entire families have abandoned their homes and all their belongings overnight, in the hope of being able to return soon. However, many communities are still forced to live in reception centres or temporary shelters because their home areas are still under military attack or are densely mined. The severe impact caused by the loss of their homes, family and friends is also compounded by the chronic scarcity of essential goods and services, such as clothing and heating to survive the harshness of winter. In addition, for many children and adolescents, the possibility of access to quality education services is still jeopardised.   

In Ukraine, many know that they will never be able to get back what they left behind, because the war destroyed lives, homes and schools, and took away everything they had. 

A curtain of a house in Irpin torn by a bullet hole.
Our intervention

Together with ChildFund Alliance, we took immediate action to address the emergency at the beginning of the conflict and then continued our efforts in Ukraine and Moldova alongside the population affected by the ongoing conflict. 

Today we are present in the areas of Kyiv, Kherson, Mykolayiv and Kharkiv to support children and their families by providing food, shelter, medicines and basic needs.  

From Kyiv, we coordinated cash assistance activities and responded to the winter emergency with the distribution of winter kits - heaters, blankets and coats - in the northen area the country. After more than 1 million people returned to the Kyiv region after its liberation, we started an intervention in Irpin, offering financial support to buy medicine, food and shelter and distributing winter kits to more than 2,400 people, including displaced people, families who returned to the area after fleeing the bombs and people who never left their homes despite the attacks.    

In Kherson, Mykolayiv and Kharkiv, eastern regions of the front line, we are currently carrying out multi-sectoral interventions for the most vulnerable groups: psychosocial support for adults and children, education and awareness-raising on the risks posed by mines and unexploded ordnance. In the WASH sector (water, sanitation and hygiene), we are engaged in the distribution of personal hygiene kits for women and elderly people in vulnerable conditions, and in the rehabilitation of infrastructure such as water cisterns, toilets, water filtration systems and water facilities in medical and rehabilitation centres. We are also providing financial assistance to families with health and protection needs. Finally, we are actively contributing to the humanitarian response to prepare for winter, through the distribution of wood and electric stoves to the most vulnerable groups, as well as winter kits including jackets, jumpers, shoes, gloves and blankets.    

WeWorld interventions in Ukraine are possible thanks to the support of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), ChildFund Alliance (CFA), Ukraine Humanitarian Fund (UHF), ALSTOM Foundation, the Emilia-Romagna Region, Legacoop and its member cooperatives, and many companies and people who are supporting us.