UKRAINE – February 24 2022 War in Ukraine: “We are on the side of children” SOS Children’s Villages is dedicated to protecting the children and families we support in Ukraine. On February 24, 2022, the Russian Federation launched a full-scale invasion on Ukraine. Martial law is in effect in Ukraine. Massive shelling is reported in the town of Stanytsia Luhanska, where the social center of SOS Children’s Villages has been closed since February 17, and part of the staff relocated. Until now, we have not been informed of any casualties among the children, parents and staff from the programs of SOS Children’s Villages in Stanytsia Luhanska. At around 12:00 pm local time, the town of Brovary, Kyiv region, was under attack. The colleagues and program participants who were at SOS Children’s Villages Brovary at the time took temporary refuge in a bomb shelter. All are unharmed. Ground battles are being fought in Starobilsk in eastern Ukraine, near the social center of SOS Children’s Villages. Serhii Lukashov, the National Director of SOS Children’s Villages in Ukraine, says: "We all feel helpless, and we all want the war to stop. Our top priority is to protect as many children as we can. We want children to grow up without hate.” "I am in close contact with SOS Children’s Villages in Russia and Belarus. We are on the same side—on the side of children. We will continue our work to protect children from the horror of war,” Mr. Lukashov says. SOS Children’s Villages in Ukraine: SOS Children’s Villages began working in Ukraine in 2003, and in 2010 opened the first SOS Children’s Village in Brovary, Kyiv region. The work in Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine, began in 2012, and was reorganized in 2014 to respond to the needs of children and families on both sides of the contact line. The program in Luhansk City (the non-government controlled area) will close by April 2022. Programs of SOS Children's Villages in Ukraine include: Family Strengthening: Since 2003, we have been supporting families who are at risk of breaking down. The help we provide varies depending on the needs of each family but can include counseling, social support and material support. We also run workshops on topics relating to child protection and health. Foster Family Care: Children without parental care find a loving home in one of the SOS Children’s Villages families. The families have the legal status of "foster families" and receive all the support they need from SOS Children's Villages. We also provide short-term care for children in crisis situations. The children stay with us (usually less than six months) until they can return to their families or move to another form of family-based care. Emergency Response: We support families who are living in the conflict areas and those who have been internally displaced. We provide medical, educational and social support. The need for psychotherapy has tripled since autumn 2015. In 2015, despite the dangerous working conditions, we reached more than 300 internally displaced children in the Kyiv region and more than 160 in the Lugansk region. Youth Program: We support young people to gain the necessary skills and develop their talents to help them find employment and become independent. Advocacy: SOS Children's Villages works with the government of Ukraine and other agencies to promote social reform that improves the rights of children in the country. Learn more about SOS Children’s Villages in Ukraine: https://sos-ukraine.org/ Established in 1949, SOS Children’s Villages is the world’s largest organization focused on ensuring that children and young people without parental care—or who are at risk of losing it—grow up with the care, relationships and support they need to become their strongest selves. Each year, SOS Children’s Villages helps more than one million children and families in 137 countries and territories around the world. For media inquiries, please contact Rachel Taschenberger, Director of Branding and Content (SOS Children's Villages USA), by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.