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Six months of war and millions of Ukrainian children are at risk of missing school and mental health issues

24 Aug 2022 by World Vision
Six months of war and millions of Ukrainian children are at risk of missing school and mental health issues

From the report:
• As Europe returns to school, 3.6 million Ukrainian children are at risk of missing class
• Six months into the conflict 1.5 million children are at risk of mental health issues
• Funding is needed to provide more support to children who can’t go to school

World Vision is striving to provide more educational support for Ukrainian children amid fears more than 3.5 million children will miss out on classes as the war rolls into its sixth-month.

A report from Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science called Save Schools in Ukraine has found that more than 2,000 Ukrainian schools were damaged by bombing and shelling, and at least 260 were completely destroyed. In addition, around 3,500 educational institutions are now being used as shelters.

World Vision Ukraine Crisis Response Director, Jennifer Neelsen, says the conflict is jeopardising the future of an entire generation of Ukrainian children.

“This time last year they were packing their school bags and looking forward to being reunited with school friends. But within the space of just six-months their lives have drastically changed and now their access to education has been compromised or even entirely cut-off”, she says. 

 “Going back to school gives children a sense of normality, but millions of boys and girls in Ukraine will miss the new school year, and it will be incredibly difficult to regain the time and opportunity to learn,” Neelsen says. 

 World Vision is providing informal education, and catch-up materials to children in Ukraine, but says more funding is needed to reach all children who are at risk of missing out on an education.

World Vision New Zealand National Director, Grant Bayldon, says it is jointly funding a $1.6million education and protection programme with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to provide education and mental health support to refugee children in neighbouring Romania.

“Ukraine's children must be provided with learning resources, opportunities, and support through enhanced education programmes as the school year opens. The humanitarian community, with local partners, can provide this support but more funding is desperately needed to scale up this work,” Bayldon says.

As well as missing out on an education, Ukraine’s children are also at risk of mental health problems. World Vision’s  No Peace of Mind Report reveals that more than 1.5 million children from Ukraine are at risk of mental health issues after being exposed to the horrors of war.

Bayldon says it’s a sad reality that innocent children bear the true brunt of conflict.

“Many of these children have witnessed violence and death and millions have been forced to leave their homes, their pets and even family members.

“Their lives have been torn apart and the international community must prioritise their mental health and education in order to avoid a lost generation for millions of children”, Bayldon says.  

 World Vision’s emergency response has helped more than 277,000 people. This includes providing education programmes to more than 5,000 children, but the need is expected to rise as winter looms and brings more challenges.

“Ukraine’s children need structure, they need education, they need support. International aid organisations, like World Vision, are there to provide that support, but prioritised funding is desperately needed to make it happen, and make it happen now,” Bayldon says.

To help children fleeing dangerous places like Ukraine you can text DONATE to 5055 or visit