UNICEF: how to help, but not harm refugees from Ukraine

About 3.2 million people left their homes because of the war and left Ukraine. How to behave in order to help them and not harm them at the same time?

Tips from UNICEF

Silence and the opportunity to be alone

Silence and being alone are very important. People may have been under fire and may be nervous at first. Help them meet their physiological, basic needs. A quiet place with the opportunity to somehow retire will help to stabilize.

Less questions

Refrain from questions and conversations unless the person initiates them. Don’t be the first to ask what happened where people came from. When they are ready, they will share with you themselves.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If a person is crying, let him cry, don’t stop him, just be there.

Help with adjusting to children

If you have a family with children in your care, help keep the children busy – they need to be given time to adapt. The daily routine, active leisure and useful activities for children will help them to normalize as much as possible.

Tell me where to get help

Help find information about where to get help for refugees in your community. You are much more familiar with your community, so your help and perhaps escort to the relevant services will be very helpful. This is especially important for those who come from other countries; refugees often cannot communicate because they do not know the language.

Accept questions with understanding

In an attempt to adapt, and as if to “return the old life”, people ask questions that you, as a host community, may seem strange and out of time: about a refrigerator, about hot water, about Wi-Fi. Please respond politely explaining your options.

Avoid negative conversations

If possible, do not join in emotional conversations in society regarding negative stories related to the behavior of people who have moved from other regions and lived or live in your community.

Involve Newcomers in Volunteering

Engage your community in helping when people feel safe. Around the third or fourth day after the move, after meeting the basic needs of their family and feeling safe, people are ready to step in to help others.

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