New and escalating conflicts over recent years have left millions of people around the world without adequate food and protection. As the conflicts continue, the number of children and families in desperate need of aid grows.
By ChildFund Australia
Thirteen-year-old David* was woken in the middle of the night by his mother who told him: “You’re not going to school because war has come to us.”
It was a winter morning on 24 February 2022, and Russia had just launched airstrikes across Ukraine. David’s little town, east of the capital Kyiv, was one of the first to be attacked.
“I was scared and surprised, but I did what my parents told me,” David said.
The day before, David had been at school. His teacher had shown students where to hide in an emergency evacuation. “The feeling was that something could happen soon,” David said.
That night, David remembers seeing firefighters and ambulances heading to Kyiv.
Cold, sick, and frightened
David’s town was quiet for a few days, but then sounds of gunfire and shelling swept through. “It was very scary … Things in the house were shaking from the explosions,” David said.
David and his family hid in the basement. The water and the electricity in the house cut off. It was cold and damp in the basement, and David and his family got sick.
After a while, David and his family fled to a relative’s house, which still had heating. They were warm but they lived in constant fear.
“One day the siren sounded very loud and we heard a very loud roar,” David said.
“There was a big explosion, and we went outside and saw that a house nearby had no roof, and there were wounded and dead people.”
“Everything around the house was on fire.”
David and his family had to wait some days to leave. When they began to flee, they came under fire.
“There was a tank in the distance aiming at us,” David said.
Photo: Maxim Dondyuk.
David and his mother eventually arrived at a shelter, but David had to say goodbye to his father. “The last time we saw my dad, he was leading us to the evacuation site,” David said. “He went to save other people.”
Many surviving children like David, have been separated from family members. Since the conflict started in Ukraine, most men aged between 18 to 60 have been banned from leaving the country.
Conflict is stealing children’s lives and futures
Conflicts have led to the death of millions of children. For even more children, conflict has pushed them further into poverty and placed them at a high risk of abuse and exploitation.
In Ukraine, an average of at least two children have been killed or injured every day since Russia’s invasion began in February 2022.
In Myanmar, at least 30 children were killed in sudden airstrikes in February 2023 as part of ongoing conflict in the country.
ChildFund Australia CEO, Margaret Sheehan, called on the international community to get behind organisations on the ground that are helping children and families caught up in conflict. “This senseless loss of children’s lives is devastating and reinforces the importance of ChildFund’s work to protect children wherever we can, especially in times of conflict,” she said. “Donations can help provide children like David a chance to survive and begin to recover from conflict.”
In Afghanistan, decades of conflict have led to one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.
As of April 2023, 15 million children in Afghanistan – more than a third of the country's population – were in need humanitarian and protection assistance.
Basic services and food are limited. Infrastructure has collapsed and it is almost impossible for women to work or get an education.
For single or widowed mothers, it is especially difficult to sufficiently provide for their children.
Around the world, conflict is depriving children of their basic rights to survive, to be protected, and to grow up safe and healthy. The harm of conflict on children is compounded by the effects of climate change, poverty, and food shortages.
The uncertainty and violence of the conflict has left a mark on David and his mother. While they now live in safer conditions, in a shelter for displaced people, for a long time David shuddered at every sound. A psychologist diagnosed him with a high level of post-traumatic stress disorder.
David is one of more than 2.5 million children who have been internally displaced in Ukraine and who are living without adequate food, health care and shelter. Many children no longer can go to school and are living in constant fear and uncertainty.
The donations of ChildFund supporters in Australia and around the world are helping to provide food, health care and safety for children like David.
Your donation can provide families with emergency transfers of cash so they can buy the food, medications, and other essentials that their children need.
Ameena*, a staff member of ChildFund Alliance partner, WeWorld, in Afghanistan said: “Some mothers have sent their children back to school, some have been able to protect their daughters from forced child marriages.
The emergency cash saved them from freezing in the winter. Now they hope for a better future.”
Your donation can also provide hygiene kits and warm clothes, and provide safe spaces for children where they can learn and continue their schooling, play, and just be children for a while.
Thanks to the generosity of ChildFund supporters, David is receiving psychosocial support to help him recover from trauma. He is feeling safer now and has made new friends. He also sleeps better, and he thinks about the horrors of his home being attacked less often.
“I really want to go home… My dream is to go home and ride my bike like before,” David said.
Please donate to help children like David survive conflict, and begin to recover.
*Names have been changed to protect individuals’ identities.
There’s nothing quite as powerful as a mother’s love for her children, and her desire to see them grow up and reach their full potential.
If you’re considering giving mum, or a maternal figure in your life, a donation on her behalf for Mother’s Day, there’s no better way than to choose a charity gift from our Gifts for Good catalogue. You’ll not only be helping children living in poor communities, but providing support for mothers around the world.
To help you decide how you and Mum want to change the world this Mother’s Day, we’ve put together a Mother’s Day Charity Gift Guide. Read on to see what a difference your Mother’s Day gift could make, and learn about our new charity gift bundles!
Donate blankets or malaria nets to keep a child safe and sound
Every child wants to feel safe and warm, but poverty can mean a child’s life may lack basic comforts. A blanket can help a child to brave cold winter nights, so they sleep soundly, remain healthy, and can focus on their school work.
Preventable disease is also a very real threat to children’s health in developing communities. A simple mosquito net is a proven and cost-effective method to prevent the spread of malaria. Hung over a child’s bed, a net will keep them safe from malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
Gift a warm blanket or malaria net as individual gifts, or together in our Safe and Sound Bundle:
Buy furry friends and provide a family with farm animals
These furry friends are a twofold gift! Farm animals provide families in developing communities with a range of nutritious goods that can be used to feed their children, or sold for additional income. They’re also a furry companion for children to love and spend time with.
Goats produce milk and cheese which are highly nutritious for growing children. and the eggs laid by chickens area vital source of protein. Meanwhile sheep provide an ongoing source of wool, which families can use to make clothing, blankets, and other textiles.
Gift Mum your favourite farm animal, or a whole barnyard together in our Furry Friends Bundle below:
Your donation can be the gift that provides a child with a brighter future
When you were growing up, you had dreams and aspirations. Education is the most powerful strategy to reduce poverty, ensuring the next generation of children in developing countries are able to reach their full potential.
Confidence is absolutely essential to active participation in school, and a brand new school uniform will help a child develop a sense of belonging among their peers.
From pens and pencils to exercise books, there’s so much a child needs for school and when you donate our pack of school supplies you’ve got them covered for a full school year.
Give a school uniform or educational supplies as individual gifts or donate all that a child needs for school in our Bright Future Bundle below:
Change the future of an entire family when you donate water filters or nutritious food
Up to 44% of children in Laos suffer from malnutrition. You and Mum (and even Grandma!) can change the future of an entire family by providing a safe source of water and a stable diet for a family in need.
A deepwater borehole system gives the gift of clean, safe water that a whole school — or even an entire community — can rely upon. Clean drinking water protects children and their communities from life-threatening waterborne disease, such as diarrhoea. Fruit trees and packs of vegetable seeds help families establish household gardens where they can grow their own produce in what will become a reliable source of fresh food.
Donate water filters, fruit trees and seed packs as individual gifts or together in our Food for Thought Bundle below:
The COVID-19 pandemic has left children around the world without enough food to eat and vulnerable communities with limited access to the supplies needed to fight the virus.
This Mother’s Day, you can help restock a health station with desperately needed medicines, medical supplies, personal protective equipment and other necessities to ensure that children and families have ready access to the care and resources they need to stay healthy.