– June 25 2019
In an endless war, children suffer the most
Five years since conflict devastated the once quaint, rural area of Stanitsa Luganska in eastern Ukraine, life remains a daily challenge for local children and families. With homes and schools destroyed, limited access to basic services, and the community suffering the effects of prolonged stress and uncertainty, families continue to require SOS Children’s Villages long-term support.
Our SOS social centre in Stanitsa Luganska is offering children access to creative and educational activities, as well as counselling services, and humanitarian aid for those most in need.
“Before the war began in 2014, Stanitsa Luganska was just the sleepy little neighbour of the big regional capital city of Lugansk, and most people here lived modest lives,” Kateryna Profatilova, Programme Coordinator at SOS Children's Villages in Stanitsa Luganska, recalls. “Parents worked, children went to school, and small-town living was uneventful.”
“If people needed anything, Lugansk was just 16 km away then - but the establishment of the so-called ‘contact line’, which separates us from the non-government-controlled areas beyond, changed everything. Now people queue for hours to cross the contact line for their medicines and supplies, and travel hundreds of kilometres to access healthcare.
“Everything is hard to reach now. Public services were interrupted by the war, and some cannot be re-established. It is not unusual for pregnant women to schedule Caesarean sections well before their due dates to avoid travelling for hours while in labour. And while before, children used to go to music lessons and play football, now the local SOS centre offers the only activities for children in the town.”
The conflict has had a profound effect on parents, and their ability to provide for their children. Unemployment, transportation difficulties, and constant uncertainty have driven parents into depression and psychological counselling has become the most sought-after service we offer.
"We literally have lists of people waiting for counselling," SOS psychologist Irina Medvedeva explained. "Once, parents were reluctant to seek psychological help, but this has drastically changed in recent years and there is a growing need for our support.
“Aggressive behaviour, anxiety, and speech problems remain the biggest difficulties for the children, and if left unaddressed, they can have devastating consequences on them as adults."
Our holistic approach to working with each family, as well as the range of activities for children and parents that we offer, has made SOS a trusted and reliable partner to families in Stanitsa Luganska. Last year, the SOS social centre helped 642 children from 329 families to rebuild their lives, while countrywide we have supported more than 57,000 people in Ukraine since the conflict began.
Find out more about SOS Children’s Villages family strengthening work, and how you can make a difference.
Find out more