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Since February 24, 2022 about a third of Ukrainians have been forced to leave their homes, making it the largest displacement of people at the moment. Estonian Refugee Council started supporting the population affected by the war in Ukraine at the end of 2014. Our activities in Ukraine have changed according to how the situation and the needs of the people have changed.

Programmes currently active in this country

Livelihoods and Economic Recovery Programme

The purpose of the Livelihoods and Economic Recovery Programme is to support the self-sufficiency of people who have suffered as a result of crises, helping them to start a business and enter the labour market.

Programme activities:

  • Entrepreneurship programmes and mentoring. Entrepreneurship programmes provide partici- pants with hands-on training and guidance to start a business or develop an existing business. Through mentoring, we offer guidance from experienced entrepreneurs or experts to help participants bring their ideas to life.
  • Labour market programmes.
 Labour market programmes are aimed at those people with a migrant background who want to enter the Estonian labour market, change jobs or find a job that matches their qualifications.

Contact us about this programme: 

Humanitarian Assistance Programme

The programme provides timely, effective and need-based assistance to people who have had to leave their homes or have been otherwise affected by armed conflicts or natural disasters.

Activities in 2022

Since February 24, 2022, when Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine, about a third of Ukrainians have been forced to leave their homes. In world terms, this means the largest displacement of people at the moment. About 7 million people have been internally displaced in Ukraine. An estimated 13 million remain in temporarily occupied territories due to hostilities in eastern Ukraine, unwilling or unable to leave due to heightened security risks, destruction of bridges and roads, and lack of resources or information.

In March, we started distributing multi-purpose cash assistance (MPC) in Ukraine, being the first internationally and subsequently one of the largest providers of MPC, reaching also temporarily occupied areas. Cash-based aid is a quick, cost-effective, and dignified measure that allows people in areas where markets function to decide what they use the aid for. Foodstuffs, drinking water, medicines, hygiene items, and the money used to pay for temporary living space have mainly been purchased with support. We have also distributed sleeping bags, generators, food aid, etc., in different regions based on need.

What are we doing now?

  • We distribute multi-purpose cash assistance. We have supported 46,706 households (over 140,000 people, as of 29.08.2022). We have mediated monetary support for more than 23.7 million euros (Estonian donor support + WFP + OCHA + IRC). The allowance is 2220 UAH (= about 59 EUR according to the new exchange rate) per household member in one month.
  • We have opened a separate application platform for applying for cash-based support in Ukraine:
  • Our on-site call center in Ukraine receives about 50-300,000 calls daily. It can serve about 1,500 people a day, advising and sharing information about support options and pre-selection into our cash-based program and referring people to other programs if necessary.
  • We have supported hospitals in Eastern Ukraine with medical supplies, equipment, food, generators, and other necessities.
  • We have distributed 2,900 blankets, 4,600 sleeping bags, and other essentials to people in bomb shelters and IDP accommodations.
  • We are part of the Joint Market Monitoring Initiative (JMMI), within which we help the humanitarian aid sector keep a constant overview of where and how the markets are functioning in Ukraine, whether and how fast the prices of essential commodities are rising, etc. Our area of ​​responsibility is Zaporizhzhia and Kharkiv Oblasts. Read the latest report covering June 2022.
  • In cooperation with Kyiv Volunteers and ONUKY, we carry out a food distribution program in areas where there is a need for food aid. One food package that meets international standards is enough for two weeks.

You, too, can help people affected by the war in Ukraine by donating.

Activities since 2014

Estonian Refugee Council started supporting the population affected by the war in Ukraine at the end of 2014 when it launched the donation campaign "For Ukraine!". Our activities in Ukraine have changed according to how the conflict there and the needs of the people have changed. At the end of 2014, we started distributing medical, hygiene, and food packages to internally displaced persons and in front-line settlements in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia regions. Later, medical aid projects were added, within the framework of which we delivered necessary medicines, medical equipment, and equipment to hospitals. In 2015 and 2016, summer camps for internally displaced children and children with special needs were held on Khortitsa Island, Zaporizhzhia. In the same years, we sent 11 volunteer specialists from Estonia to Ukraine.

Due to the changing needs, in the fall of 2016, we started a new phase in our aid program, starting to support internally displaced people in Eastern Ukraine and residents of front-line settlements by creating and expanding small businesses to guarantee them a sustainable income. According to the needs, we have also consistently supported, for example, the elderly living near the front-line with food and hygiene supplies, school children with school supplies, and the most vulnerable households with financial support to survive the winter.

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