Sophia, 16, was sitting in physics class in Kharkiv when Russia began bombing the city in February 2022. As the bombing intensified over the following days, Sophia was forced to travel to a city in western Ukraine.
Months later she learned that her childhood home had been destroyed. “There is nothing but stones,” she said (PDF, 7MB).
Sophia is among more than 614,000 of Ukraine’s children the U.S.-based Save the Children nonprofit organization has helped.
Save the Children estimates that Russia’s war kills or injures four children in Ukraine every day.
An array of U.S. nonprofit organizations assist Ukraine’s children.
The need is vast. In addition to the threat of bombs, Russia has separated thousands of Ukraine’s children from their families, guardians and caregivers and transferred them to facilities where they are exposed to a Russia-centric curriculum. While some children eventually return from these “reeducation” camps, many do not and the status of hundreds of children is unknown.
Improving children’s well-being
Denver-based charity Children of Heroes provided Andriy, a Mariupol student, with food, clothing, medical care and a laptop to continue his English studies. Andriy’s father was killed in a bombing. The family home was destroyed.
These stories are far from unique. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has traumatized thousands of children.
Nataliya Vyetrova is a Ukraine native who moved to the United States in 2019. She founded the Ukraine Volya Foundation in June 2022 to help Ukraine’s children cope with war-related trauma.
Based in Washington, the organization enlists clinical psychologists who use games, art, talk therapy and other tools. “Our organization profoundly believes that one of the best things we can do for the future of Ukraine is to help children,” she said.
Spreading awareness through art
Several U.S. galleries hosted fundraisers:
- Funds from a Los Angeles exhibit of artifacts and Ukrainian-designed costumes help renovate a children’s heart surgery center in Lviv.
- Boston-based Heal Ukraine Group and Autism Unity’s art exhibit benefit Ukrainian families who have children with autism.
- A Burlington, Vermont, nonprofit Actions Beyond Words featured paintings and drawings by Ukrainian children and proceeds delivered food and medical supplies.
Artist Wojtek Sawa, an immigrant who came to the U.S. from Poland when he was 11, organized a Sarasota, Florida, exhibit featuring works by Ukrainian children. “I felt that Ukrainian kids needed to know the world cares, and how we treat them is going to be how they see the world.”
As Russia’s war in Ukraine continues, so does the need. See what the United States is doing to help the people of Ukraine.