UNHCR's Emergency Response During Snow Storm
© UNHCR / Houssam Hariri
Location icon Middle East, Afghanistan and Ukraine

Meet the families you helped this winter

Your donations helped UNHCR to protect millions of vulnerable people in Ukraine, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

This winter is one of the toughest yet for millions of refugees across Ukraine, Afghanistan and the Middle East, with many forced to choose between food and warmth.

UNHCR’s Winter Survival Fund is helping these families meet their most urgent needs. With your help, UNHCR has provided millions of vulnerable people with warm winter clothing, thermal blankets, lamps, gas cylinders and cash assistance. We are also helping to repair shelters and distributing solar panels.

With your help, our teams:

  • Provided 371,058 people with winter cash assistance in Afghanistan
  • Reached nearly 1.4 million people in Ukraine with winter support, including cash assistance, shelter and life-saving items
  • Provided families with critical winter support in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

Meet some of the families you helped 

Fatima in Afghanistan

Afghanistan_Vulnerable Family Living In Cave Cliffs Receive Financial Support From UNHCR
© UNHCR/Caroline Gluck

Two years ago, Fatima*, 29, and her three children fled life-threatening violence in Bamyan. They returned eight months ago, but couldn’t afford accommodation and were forced to shelter in a cave. It was the only place they could find that shielded them from the bitter winter.

“We had nowhere else to go. We couldn’t afford to pay any rent,” Fatima said.

People living in Bamyan province – the highest region in Afghanistan and one of the coldest – are used to freezing weather. But this winter has been the worst in over a decade, hitting vulnerable families like Fatima’s hard.

With your support, UNHCR provided the family with cash assistance and warm blankets to help them through the winter.

“Everything you see here, I have bought with the money UNHCR provided,” said Fatima, gesturing to her cushions and small stove. “If I didn’t get this help, my situation would be terrible.”

*Name changed for protection reasons

Lena in Ukraine

UNHCR Delivers Humanitarian Relief Items For Refugees And Vulnerable Local Communities
© UNHCR/Irina Odobescu

Lena and her family fled attacks near their home in Odesa a year ago, finding refuge in Moldova.

Lena’s husband has a physical disability, and their two teenage children are in school. Lena said the winter season brought extra challenges for the family.

“High prices for food, electricity and gas make it harder to put fruits and vegetables on the table,” she said. “It is more difficult now compared to spring or summer.” 

With your support, UNHCR provided Lena’s family with vital cash assistance. Working with our partner, the Charity Centre for Refugees, we also distributed pillows, blankets, kitchen supplies and hygiene kits to Lena and many other refugees.

Before receiving this assistance, Lena said she had to choose between essential winter supplies or food. But now the children have warm clothing and supplies, and Lena can afford food with the cash assistance.

“Now we can save money for food, instead of spending it on those things; we have money for fruits, vegetables and dairy products.”

Sara in Afghanistan

Vulnerable Families Struggle In The Coldest Winter In More Than 10 Years
© UNHCR/Caroline Gluck

Sara was two months pregnant when her husband died a year-and-a-half ago. Now a single mother of five, she lives in Afghanistan and is the sole provider for her children.

Thanks to your generosity, Sara received winter cash assistance from UNHCR, which allowed her to purchase a traditional wood-burning stove for cooking and heating.

“This winter is colder than other winters. But now we have this stove, we have charcoal and wood, and we are all warm,” said Sara.

“If the help from UNHCR hadn’t arrived, it would be so difficult. I would have to beg from others in the community. UNHCR help is a lifeline.”

Thank you for supporting vulnerable refugees during the Northern Hemisphere’s harsh winter months.


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Your impact this winter

With your support, UNHCR is distributing crucial winter aid to Afghan, Ukrainian and Syrian families.

Our fundraising impact

The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.

Humanitarian programs