UNICEF supports Warsaw in helping Ukrainian refugees

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an image of children playing in the playground. A boy runs through the obstacle course with a football
Author: Rafał Motyl

Under the agreement with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Warsaw will be granted an amount of approx. PLN 100 million (nearly USD 22.5 million) by the end of 2022 to support Ukrainian refugees. As part of the cooperation, 35 projects have been prepared, and their main goal is to protect refugee children.

Donor assistance from around the world

Since the beginning of the refugee crisis, Warsaw has raised PLN 160 million from donors to help Ukrainian citizens who left their country in connection with the Russian attack. The largest financial support received by the City of Warsaw will come from UNICEF, which, under an agreement with the city, will donate a total of nearly PLN 100 million towards the programs supporting children from Ukraine between May and December 2022.  Importantly, almost a half of approx. 170 thousand visitors from Ukraine living in Warsaw are children and young people, which is why from the very beginning of the refugee crisis, the key element of the city's activities is support addressed to this particular group of people.

This is a very important help for us, because due to the city’s financial situation, we could not allow such extensive activities to be carried out without external sources of financing. In cooperation with UNICEF, we implement 35 projects that are related to such areas as: access of Ukrainian children to nursery and pre-school care, education, health care, psychological support or nutrition. We also place a strong emphasis on integration, which is why we organize courses of the Polish language and joint classes for Ukrainian and Polish children in cooperation with UNICEF – says Rafał Trzaskowski, Mayor of the Capital City of Warsaw.

As emphasized by Rashed Mustafa Sarwar, Country Coordinator for Poland UNICEF, the integration of Ukrainian children is an important element of adapting them to life in a new environment.

Better access to education

Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, over 17 thousand Ukrainian students have joined Warsaw kindergartens and schools, which is why over half of the UNiCEF funds - PLN 50 million, is support for education. To that end, we have opened the Centre for Education and Development at ul. Towarowa, with an information center for education, also with classes and workshops for children and youth as well as Polish language courses organized. In the center, those in need can also use the support of a psychologist, and students are provided with access to 120 computer workstations for learning, including remote education in the Ukrainian system.

UNICEF support in the field of education concerns, among others, the organization of courses of Polish language for adults, including Ukrainian teachers; education of Polish teachers who teach refugee children in schools and kindergartens, psychological assistance for students with war trauma and the purchase of school supplies and tablets or laptops for learning. UNICEF has also allocated PLN 12 million to nourish Ukrainian schoolchildren - it is worth noting that PLN 6 million has already been spent on this purpose from the city budget. 

Integration of the youngest

The projects integrating the Ukrainian community with other residents of the city of Warsaw are also an important aspect.

We know that the youngest ones integrate the easiest, and the time spent together is the most conducive. Therefore, as part of our popular annual campaign "Summer in the City", this year we also offered classes for students from Ukraine under the slogan "Common summer in Warsaw". We have received reports from almost 2,000 children, who will benefit from three weekly class tours on average during the summer holidays. Importantly, these activities are also financed by UNICEF – emphasizes Rafał Trzaskowski.

As part of the "Common Summer in Warsaw" campaign, Ukrainian children spend time together with their Polish-speaking counterparts – they play together, go to the swimming pool or to the museum and receive food. They are looked after by Polish teachers, who are helped by Ukrainian educators. 

Learn more about UNICEF support for childhood vaccinations.