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Impact Report

Two Years of War in Ukraine

Ongoing Needs

“It has been two years since the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Two years that have turned people’s worlds upside down. Two years where millions of people have been internally displaced and millions more have left the country and become refugees. Two years of hundreds of thousands of homes damaged or destroyed. Two years where unemployment has raged. Two years in which Ukrainian children’s mental health and education has suffered greatly. Two years of war.” – Paul Anticoni, Chief Executive World Jewish Relief

Our Impact

Explore our impact since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022.


Internally displaced Ukrainians assisted


People supported in Ukraine


People reached with livelihood recovery

Find out more about our impact in numbers since February 2022

  • 381 towns and cities reached
  • 41,281 people received medical care
  • 244,156 people provided with emergency food
  • 28,452 people helped to survive the winter
  • 556 homes repaired
  • 16,911 Ukrainians supported in neighbouring Poland and Moldova
  • 6,003 people reached with livelihood recovery
  • Reached 41,831 older people
  • 18,629 people with disabilities supported
  • Worked in partnership with 27 local partners

How we’ve spent funds

Working Inside Ukraine

Since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion, World Jewish Relief has supported over 273,874 Ukrainians inside Ukraine, across 381 towns and cities, through a network of 27 local partner organisations built over 30 years of working in Ukraine. Our main activities and programmes are split into four areas of focus.

Humanitarian Support

We are now focusing our humanitarian distribution to communities in frontline regions to the South and East of the country, where the humanitarian need is greatest. There remains an overwhelming need for this support, with 14.6 million Ukrainians requiring assistance. We are continuing to provide emergency supplies including food, water and medicine, and responding to specific crises as they arise, such as the destruction of Kakhovka Dam in June 2023. We are prioritising women and girls, who are worst impacted in times of crisis. But alongside humanitarian support in these targeted, frontline regions, are other valuable and important activities we are focusing on.

Supporting Older People

For 30 years we have supported the needs of Jewish older people in Ukraine, and we will continue to support them in the difficult years to come. Recognising the immense challenges faced by all older people in Ukraine since the start of the war, we are now reaching far beyond the Jewish community as well, mainly by providing humanitarian assistance but also supporting residential institutions housing older, displaced individuals. It is estimated that a quarter of Ukraine’s population are aged 60+ and account for around a third of civilians killed since the start of the full-scale invasion.

Older people in Ukraine are more isolated than ever as many of their social networks have been depleted due to mass evacuation of women and children in particular. They face limited health services and inadequate pensions; with many living on just £85 per month, whilst the average cost of living is around £350 per month. Despite all these challenges, older people have, on the whole, remained in their homes – in the Jewish community this figure is as high as 85%. They are extremely attached to their homes, and would be unable to afford high rental costs, and adjust, in a new location. In addition, many have chronic health conditions and mobility problems which make moving extremely precarious.

Through our partner organisations we continue to provide older people with homecare, food, medicines, hearing aids and optical care, to try to ensure a basic quality of life. We also continue to provide much needed opportunities for social interaction, psychological support, and activities for people living with dementia and their families who care for them.  Perhaps most crucial is the sense of care and relief that our clients feel thanks to staff and volunteers from our partner organisations. In their words: “Often, thanks to the activities you run, we forget about the war and the horror that is now happening on our land.”, and “When you are not alone, even the horrors of war can be survived.”

For over 10 years we have repaired dilapidated homes in Ukraine. We have scaled this up since the outbreak of war, and we are now repairing more homes than ever before, focusing on those that have been damaged by bombs or missiles. Repairs are done as soon as possible to ensure Jewish older people in Ukraine have at least one warm and dry room to live in, which is especially important during the freezing winter months.

Livelihood Recovery

 We are also supporting Ukrainians through our Back to Work programmes. This is underpinned by our Jewish values, which impress upon us that helping people to provide for themselves is the highest form of charity you can give. In Ukraine, there is an estimated 20% unemployment rate, up 10% from before the war. Many of those who are unemployed are internally displaced people (IDPs), and 60% of IDPs are unemployed. Ukrainians’ resources and capacity to cope with less income has been severely reduced by the war due to the growing mental health crisis and economic inflation. But, despite a high unemployment rate, 55% of Ukrainian companies are experiencing labour shortages.

We are providing individualised and targeted employment support to enable people to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families once more. By tackling the individual psychological barriers to people finding employment, such as low confidence and crippling mental health conditions, we are helping Ukrainians shift their mindset to enable them to get back into work. Not only does this prevent an overreliance on humanitarian handouts, but provides a sense of purpose, mental health benefits, and control over their own life. And we are not just supporting Ukrainians inside Ukraine with livelihood recovery, we are also providing Ukrainian refugees in Moldova, Poland and the UK with specialist employment support to help them rebuild their lives in a new country.

Building Stronger Families

In close connection with our livelihood recovery work, we are supporting children and families in Ukraine. We recognise that for many Ukrainians, there are barriers preventing families from functioning, and providing for themselves. Only 50% of schools are offering in-person lessons, meaning parents must provide childcare, and the children themselves learn less and socialise less. This was already an issue during the Covid-19 pandemic, and two years of war has exacerbated this problem further. As part of our Back to Childhood programmes, we are providing academic and social opportunities for children, to alleviate childcare burdens on parents and help children develop.

New Programme Launch: 19,546 unaccompanied Ukrainian children have been deported to Russia by Russian authorities since the invasion began. The Ukrainian government is working hard to return these children to Ukraine, and we will be supporting some of these children to reintegrate into their families and communities. This is a very sensitive but unique opportunity, building on our extensive experience of working with vulnerable families and children, and our long-standing partnerships with local communities and local authorities.

Follow Paul Anticoni, Chief Executive of World Jewish Relief, as he meets some of the families who we are supporting in Ukraine:

Supporting Partners In Ukraine

Our trusted network of 27 partners across Ukraine is critical in enabling us to access 381 hard-to-reach towns, cities and communities across Ukraine.

Our partners have extensive expertise and knowledge of their local communities. But, our partners are also facing the same challenges as other Ukrainians; anxiety about friends and family on the frontline, concerns about conscription, children out of school, working and attempting to lead normal lives with ongoing airstrikes and drone attacks. We are supporting our partners to cope with some of these challenges, through organisational capacity development, psychological support and enabling opportunities to rest and prevent burnout. Partnerships are critical to everything World Jewish Relief does, not just in Ukraine but across the world.

Partner Spotlight

Aleksey Tolkachov, Director of one of World Jewish Relief’s Ukrainian partners, Dreamland, reflects on two years of war in Ukraine:

Aleksey Tolkachov delivering humanitarian aid to older people in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine

“Over the past two years, I have seen thousands of eyes of grateful Ukrainians. I remember their tears of joy, their sparkling hugs, their trembling hands as they accepted humanitarian aid. I remember how hungry people in Chernihiv literally fought for bread and food, fearing that the humanitarian aid would not be enough for them. I remember how in Kherson, after the floods, aid was delivered by boats to villages cut off from the world. It is hard to describe what a source of happiness an ordinary chocolate bar can be for a child who is tired of hiding from shells in basements.

Each time we gave, not just aid from World Jewish Relief but a piece of love. We tried to warm the hearts of war-affected people to make them feel that they are important, someone is thinking about them and someone is ready to take care of them.

We delivered humanitarian aid to the most difficult de-occupied and frontline locations where there was a lack of humanitarian response. Thanks to the flexibility of World Jewish Relief’s approach, we were able to personalise the needs of the affected population. We distributed not only food and hygiene kits, but we also met specific requests. Some people needed construction materials to repair their homes, some needed toys for a child, some needed medicine, and some asked to be evacuated from the danger zone. We tried to see everyone’s need in order to respond in the most appropriate way.

Unfortunately, the war continues with an intensity that Europe has not seen since the WWII. And we continue to receive more and more requests from frontline residents and internally displaced people who have lost everything because of hostilities. For many of them, life has become a nightmare, the threat of death has become an everyday occurrence. They do not think about the future, they have no plans, no dreams.

World Jewish Relief’s humanitarian aid is not only a support for their lives, but also an important message that they are not alone despite the hardships of war. It brings them hope.”

Partner Feedback: Partner Survey 2024

“Partnership with World Jewish Relief is extremely valuable to us, it allows our organisation to grow and improve the quality of our services – and therefore the quality of life of our clients. But at certain moments the personal support and human involvement from World Jewish Relief staff, with whom our project staff interact, is equally important. We felt this particularly strongly after the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine.” 

“World Jewish Relief is well informed and closely follows the events in Ukraine and shows sincere participation and compassion. We have felt this support and understanding since 2014. Without any exaggeration, hundreds of lives of elderly and vulnerable people have been saved.”

Dame Melinda Simmons on Ukraine

Dame Melinda Simmons in Ukraine
Dame Melinda Simmons in Ukraine

Dame Melinda Simmons was His Majesty’s Ambassador to Ukraine from September 2019 until August 2023, posted in Kyiv. She received a Damehood for services to British foreign policy early in 2023. She recently spoke at World Jewish Relief’s Annual Dinner, about her experiences on the ground: 

“In the two years since the full-scale Russian invasion began, Ukraine has held Russia at bay. It has cost them so many lives to do that, losing men and women in the fight, in addition to the murderous attacks on civilians by occupying Russian troops.  

In two years, we have seen Russians abduct more than 20,000 children. Tie the hands of civilians round their backs and execute them. Set up filtration camps where survivors reported lining up to be assessed and then being told to go either left or right. If left, you were able to leave the occupied area and go into Ukraine. If right, you disappeared.  

This is a war for Ukraine’s existence. It is grinding, exhausting, and crucially, it is a hybrid war that attacks not just with missiles, but also by burning grain fields so that farmers cannot harvest. Bombing power stations so that people freeze in the Winter months. And flooding online platforms with disinformation.  

And yet in these two years Russia has failed to reach Kyiv, failed to undermine transport from Western countries of military kit; failed to subjugate the Ukrainian people. In the meantime, Ukraine has pushed Russia out of Kharkiv to the East and Kherson to the South. It has repelled attacks on the critical port city of Odesa which has been bombed again and again. Ukraine has pushed the Russian fleet far enough out of their territorial waters in the Black Sea, to enable them to open a sea route to transport grain and other food produce out of the country and around the world.  

Their fight goes on and they continue to need all of our help – military, economic, humanitarian – in order to keep Russia at bay. And the work of World Jewish Relief is an important part of that help, both for vulnerable people in parts of Ukraine that can be hard to reach, and for Ukrainian refugees in the UK.” 

Watch Dame Melinda Simmons’ inspiring speech in full here.  

Supporting Ukrainian Refugees

World Jewish Relief has supported over 20,000 Ukrainian refugees since the war began.

After two years of unrelenting conflict in Ukraine, we are committed to supporting Ukrainians in need. Whilst the majority of our expenditure is inside Ukraine, where the need is greatest, 6.3 million Ukrainians have fled across borders to seek safe refuge in other countries. We have supported 16,911 Ukrainians in Poland and Moldova, addressing their diverse range of needs through humanitarian and livelihood recovery work. In the UK, and after winning a major Government contract, we are helping up to 10,000 Ukrainian refugees to learn English and find meaningful employment in line with their experience level through our STEP Ukraine programme. 

World Jewish Relief was established in 1933 to support Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution in central and Eastern Europe. Throughout the 1930s and 40s, we helped 65,000 refugees to rebuild their lives. And now, we hope we are playing a small part in contributing positively to helping them build a new life here in the UK.   

“We are proud to be supporting refugees from all backgrounds, and many from Ukraine, to rebuild their lives in the UK. Alongside life-changing English language and one to one employment support, our STEP Ukraine programme provides thousands of Ukrainians with community, emotional support, and the confidence to achieve their ambitions. – Janice Lopatkin MBE, Director of UK Programmes.

In the UK, World Jewish Relief is supporting up to 10,000 Ukrainian refugees with employment and English language support.

We provide our award-winning STEP programme to thousands of Ukrainians in the UK, offering them completely free specialist job and English language support. On our STEP Ukraine programme, over 30% of our employment advisors are Ukrainian refugees themselves or refugees from other parts of the world including Sudan and Afghanistan. They offer not only tailored, individualised job search support and skills training, but also a friendly face and source of confidence for Ukrainians grappling with isolation, frustration, depression, and anxiety in a new country. 

Read some of the incredible feedback we have received from participants on our STEP Ukraine programme

“Working with my Employment Advisor was instrumental in getting my confidence back and figuring out my next steps during a very challenging time in my life.” 

“I got a dream job at a dream company, working in my field and with room to grow professionally. I am extremely grateful for the help and support I received from my World Jewish Relief Employment Advisor which resulted in getting this job. Thank you!”