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UNICEF launched project to support children with disabilities and their families in Ukraine

Disabled child in a wheelchair on a city street with family

UNICEF joins efforts with the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Policy, and the Dzherelo Children’s Rehabilitation Centre to respond to the needs of children with disabilities affected by war. 

The emergency intervention seeks to help children with disabilities and families affected by the ongoing war in Ukraine access professional and specialized support as well as information on where they can access available services and resources. As part of the project, mobile teams made up of professionals are available to reach and support children with disabilities in remote areas.

The response is part of UNICEF’s Spilno programme aimed to strengthen efforts of government, local authorities, civil society, and business partners to provide multisectoral support to families with children affected by the war.

The intervention is available in seven Ukrainian oblasts where the delivery of services is possible and where displaced families are concentrated: Volynska, Zakarpatska, Ivano-Frankivska, Lvivska, Rivnenska, Ternopilska, and Chernivetska.

“Even before the war, children with disabilities faced challenges in realizing their rights, including access to inclusive education and services. The situation has now been worsened by conflict, compounding vulnerability for children with disabilities. Our project aims to put children with disabilities – who often remain invisible – at the forefront of our response, and continue building a complex system where they would feel protected,” says Serhii Shkarlet, the Minister of Education and Science.

“Quality and timely access to specialized assistance, including psychological support, was of critical importance even before the full-scale invasion of Russia. Now providing critical support for children with disabilities has became even more important. That is why we are doing everything we can to remove barriers to access to services,” Minister of Health Viktor Lyashko claimed.

“It was important for us to provide support for children with disabilities, and their families, as well as for host hromadas where the number of people has significantly increased due to internal displacement. Children and their families should be provided with access to quality services that will minimize the traumatic impact of the war. The war impacts children with disabilities as well as their families disproportionately. That is why they have to be the focus of the government and hromadas. At the same time, we have to ease the burden on the social security and social services infrastructure in hromadas.” adds Maryna Lazebna, the Minister of Social Policy.

“The war in Ukraine poses a threat to childhood and the future of every child in Ukraine. For children with disabilities, the stakes are even higher. It is our responsibility to support children with disabilities and their families and ensure they can access the services and resources,” Murat Shahin, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine.

The project unites different specialists to provide complex personal assistance for each child.

Experts of the project will spread important information on how children with disabilities in the hosting hromadas can access services, and train social workers and other local professionals on how they can better support children with disabilities. Through this project, parents and caregivers will be provided with necessary specialist consultations and psychological support.

Find more about the project and contact information within regions.

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