Your love is helping Ukrainian kids to experience joy again

Kind Kiwis like you have been reaching out with love to Ukrainian children and their families since the war in Ukraine began. More than one year in, millions of people – mostly women and children – have been forced to leave their homes in search of safety.

Refugee children are facing so much uncertainty. Suffering mentally and physically from the trauma of war, loss, displacement and family separation.

But your love is reaching them in powerful ways. World Vision New Zealand’s Country Programme Manager, Andy Robinson, recently travelled to Romania to visit refugee camps on the Ukraine border and saw your love-in-action for himself.

Andy’s visit coincided with ‘Love Day’ in Romania. “It’s kind of like Valentine’s Day for us,” he says. And instead of finding sadness and uncertainty, he experienced a celebration of love.

“Right around the country, World Vision staff, World Vision volunteers wanted to make it a really special day for refugees, where they didn’t reflect on the grief of what's happened the last year, but they really felt the love, they felt embraced by love, and that they were in amazing community,” Andy says.

He spent time at one of the child-friendly spaces kind Kiwis like you helped set up. These are safe places in refugee camps where kids in crisis can just be kids again. He found children dressed up in white bakers’ hats, baking cakes to celebrate love.

“For me as a dad,” says Andy, “I've got a little 4-year-old in kindergarten, it just seemed like I was in a New Zealand kindergarten. Seeing kids having the best time, flour flying, chocolate icing being licked off spoons. It was just beautiful”.

“But actually, what really touched me was looking around the room at the parents there, the majority of whom are mums, because your average Ukraine refugee in Romania is a mum who's had to leave a husband, leave parents behind.

“They've come with their children, they don't know the language, they're just trying to make it in a foreign country,” Andy says.

“And these mums, so many of them just had tears in their eyes, not from sadness, but from this outpouring of love for them, from the Romanian people, from the World Vision staff.

“[There was] this incredible sense of togetherness that we are as humanity.

“We care for each other, and we support each other. Even in the fact that this was all because of a terrible conflict. It was about people loving and caring for one another.”

We can’t thank you enough for your love and care for Ukrainian children and their families.

While they still face significant struggles, your kindness is helping kids to experience joy and happiness and fun in the uncertainty of their daily lives.

The child-friendly spaces you helped set up are safe places for children to play, learn, receive psychological and social support, and continue strengthening their community during a crisis.

They’re places where kids can start to heal, thanks to your love.

Learn more about the difference you’ve made for children affected by the Ukraine crisis.