Russia’s war with Ukraine has forced millions of Ukrainians to flee their homeland. The war is devastating the country; its infrastructure and economy are collapsing. Ukrainians are suffering on a large scale. As of May 2023, 8,255,288 refugees throughout Europe are noted. In response, there are charities comforting Ukrainian children through books.
Among the most vulnerable are children who need help to rebuild their livelihoods amid the displacement. The following are charities working to comfort Ukrainian children.
Books Away From Home
This organization is bringing refugee children books in their language. Books Away from Home help Ukrainian children connect to their homeland through its project: Books for the Youngest Ukrainian Refugees.
The nonprofit began with the goal of providing five picture books in Ukrainian to refugees in the Netherlands. In collaboration with the Ukrainian embassies in the Netherlands and Belgium, the Ukrainian Book Institute and Ten Brink Publishers, the Books for the Youngest Ukrainian Refugees project orders thousands of books for children in shelters, schools and hospitals.
“Books for the Youngest Ukrainian Refugees has raised money for the publication and distribution of 20,000 books, and we receive new book requests daily from schools, families and refugee shelters.”
The project expanded to Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. The organization started with a focus on Ukrainian children, but the non-profit is developing projects for refugees all over the world who are taking refuge in Europe.
Better Time Stories
Better Time Stories is one of many charities comforting Ukrainian children. Its goal is to send Ukrainian refugee children living in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Austria books narrated by their loved ones.
How Does the Project Work
Children between the ages of 3 and 7 can receive a package with 5 picture books, an hour-and-a-half-long audiobook, a maximum of 25 narrations by family members recorded remotely and a crafts box to build a character.
Bestselling authors contribute to the project, helping Ukrainian children connect with their families stuck in Ukraine. The books offer themes of hope, love, new beginnings and sleep. Technology enables these children to hear their family member’s voices even when they are separated. So far, Better Time Stories has helped 5,056 families re-connect.
Books Follow – Zimin Foundation
The Zimin Foundation’s objective is to develop science and education for various communities throughout the world. The philanthropic organization has many partnerships with community organizations.
One project it participates in, Books Follow, is providing books for Ukrainian refugees. With a community of volunteers, the Zimin Foundation helps give thousands of books to Ukrainian refugee children living in Europe.
“The project also supported the procurement of books in Ukrainian, board games and drawing supplies and their delivery as Christmas gifts for 1,000 refugees from Ukraine living in various EU cities.”
Why do Refugees Need Books?
One child reads books from Better Time Stories with his host family. The children read different versions in their language. “Together they teach each other words in the other language, which often makes them laugh.” Despite the suffering and loss, children can find comfort in books. Books build community. Better Time Stories is one of three charities comforting Ukrainian children with the power of the written word.
– Ellie Bruce