Humanitarian Catastrophe in Gaza


After Two Years, Ukrainians Are Still Standing

Ukraine’s people have endured two years of unending devastation. Project HOPE is committed to standing alongside them as long as the need persists.

Even in the early moments of the war unfolding around her, Irina knew she would have to leave.

Daily life in Odesa had become a nightmare in the span of an instant, her quiet port city now bombarded by airstrikes as thousands fled by road and rail. It was the first days of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and there would come a day, Irina knew, where she would have to make the same excruciating choice.

That day came less than a week later. On March 1, 2022, Irina packed a small backpack, scooped up her dog, and closed the door behind her, not knowing whether she would ever open it again. A single thought ran through her head.

“I knew I would be gone a long time,” she says. “Maybe all my life.”

Russia’s full-scale invasion changed Ukrainians’ lives forever. For Irina, it meant becoming one of 6 million refugees forced to seek safety in another country. Photo by Marie Arago for Project HOPE, 2023.

Irina moved across the border to Moldova, where she became one of more than 6 million Ukrainian refugees who have been waiting for two years for the war at home to end. But simply spending her life waiting in limbo was not an option. Irina chose to get involved, joining a local organization called Casa Marioarei that Project HOPE partnered with to provide mental health support, job and livelihood trainings, social integration activities, and gender-based violence prevention services to refugees.

In the serenity of a garden off a quiet street in Chișinău, Irina began leading workshops in jewelry-making, paper flowers, and stitchwork. The activities gave the women at the center a safe space to express what they were feeling, as well as the chance to earn an income. But they also gave Irina a place to work through her own grief.  

“At the beginning, there were tears all the time,” she says. “Humanitarian organizations were giving out clothes and things — I told them, ‘I don’t need anything. I just need to talk to someone.’”

“We didn’t have a place to meet. Now everything’s OK. Now we have a place,” she says.

Irina leads a jewelry-making class for women at Casa Marioarei, one of Project HOPE’s partners in Moldova. “At the beginning, there were tears all the time,” she says. “Now everything’s OK.” Photo by Marie Arago for Project HOPE, 2023.

Project HOPE’s Impact in Ukraine

Since the onset of the full-scale invasion in 2022, Project HOPE has operated a comprehensive humanitarian response across Ukraine, Moldova, Poland, and Romania that has reached more than 1.2 million people.

After two years, that support continues to grow, including in communities on the front lines of the conflict. In Ukraine, Project HOPE supports local health systems by equipping health clinics with supplies and medicines, training health workers, and deploying mobile medical units to reach people in remote and frontline communities. We provide winterization resources to mitigate the impacts of severe weather, power outages, and mass displacement; provide widespread mental health and psychosocial support services; and secure access to essential water, sanitation, and hygiene supplies for communities in need.

We have also completed several major reconstruction projects to repair damaged health and community facilities, including a recently rehabilitated kindergarten in Borodianka.

>> Read the latest updates on our full response in Ukraine

In 2023, Project HOPE:

  • Operated 36 mobile medical units that treated more than 195,000 people in Ukraine.
  • Provided mental health support to more than 71,000 people in Ukraine.
  • Distributed 95,000 hygiene kits and non-food items across Ukraine.
  • Provided nine fully equipped ambulances to communities near the front lines in Kherson, Kharkiv, and Dnipro, which transported 6,343 patients.
  • Trained more than 3,400 health workers, delivered 201 generators, distributed clean drinking water to more than 24,000 people, and completed reconstruction projects on six buildings across Ukraine.
  • In Poland, Moldova, and Romania, our team connected Ukrainian refugees to primary health care services, equipped health facilities with medical supplies, and provided mental health and psychosocial support that reached more than 22,000 people.

>> Read our 2023 Ukraine impact report

International Children’s Day activities in Zaporizhzhia 01.06.2023
Project HOPE completed reconstruction projects on six buildings in Ukraine in 2023, including an ambulatory clinic in Zahaltsi that serves 5,000 people. Photo by Nikita Hlazyrin for Project HOPE, 2023.
Project HOPE’s mobile medical unit teams in Ukraine treated 195,000 people in 2023, including local residents cut off from medical services in the village of Zhurivka, Odesa region. Photo by Nikita Hlazyrin for Project HOPE, 2023.

Project HOPE’s Response Going Forward

Project HOPE remains committed to addressing the evolving urgent health and humanitarian needs in Ukraine and neighboring countries hosting refugees. Nearly 40% of the population inside Ukraine will require humanitarian assistance in 2024, including 3 million people in frontline communities and nearly 4 million who are internally displaced.

In 2024, Project HOPE will prioritize emergency response for frontline communities and newly liberated territories in Ukraine, while continuing to support refugees in Poland and Moldova through primary health; mental health; water, sanitation, and hygiene; winterization; reconstruction; and other refugee assistance.

That support is different in every community, in response to every need. It can look like a fleet of ambulances or a safe space for children; a mobile medical team or a newly rebuilt hospital.

But for Irina, it’s as small as the necklace she holds in her hand: a reminder that the pain of the last two years doesn’t have to define the years still ahead.

“We’ll get through this,” she says. “We’re tough. You can see it in the people here. We are here because it gets us out of depression. We’re tough and we’ll get through. We are invincible.”

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