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Universal Children's Day: the life Donbas children live


November 20 is the day when Ukraine and other countries of the world celebrated the Universal Children's Day, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1959. This day reminds about the need to work on children's rights protection and importance of providing them with timely assistance.

According to the UN, every year eleven million children die before they turn five. Dozens of millions remain physically or mentally ill, not being able to live and develop. Many of these deaths are caused by easily treatable diseases; other — by devastating consequences of wars, poverty, discrimination and violence.

In Ukraine, according to official data of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), 580,000 children living near the contact line and in non-government-controlled areas were affected by hostilities in Donbas. 186 were injured, 68 were killed.

"Children become the most vulnerable during armed conflicts, as very often they are deprived of rights for safety and life itself. That's why 'children of war' are the main priority for Rinat Akhmetov and the Humanitarian Center. Since August 2014 the Humanitarian Center has been helping Donbas children in several directions: delivery and distribution of survival kits, targeted assistance, psychological support and assistance with medications", – Rimma Fil, Coordinator at Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center, shares.

Over 2.5 years of the Center's operation:

  • 765,000 food packages were issued to families with children under 35 months old;
  • 2,957 children were provided with assistance for urgent treatment and surgeries;
  • 1,985 sets of essential medications were issued to children with diabetes mellitus, asthma and different forms of cerebral palsy;
  • 57 injured children took a course of rehabilitation treatment or received individual rehabilitation equipment;
  • 49,915 children were provided with psychological support through counselling.   

According to the Coordinator, two years of hunger and shelling left an indelible mark on thousands of children in the east of Ukraine. "Those living on the contact line suffer the most. Marinka, Avdiivka, Krasnohorivka and Hranitne still suffer shelling. People are still being killed in Donbas. Demand for assistance remains relevant. By decision of Rinat Akhmetov the Humanitarian Center is ready and will keep helping children affected by the conflict", – Rimma Fil shares.