A residential building in Kyiv destroyed by a Russian missile attack with street art graffiti by Banksy


For more resilience in Ukraine

For more than two years, Ukraine has been resolutely fighting against Russia’s war of aggression, which is illegal under international law. The Ukrainians have already tolerated immeasurable suffering: Nightly bombings are a sad everyday reality in many cities. But life must go on and the economy must function, schools must remain open, and fields must be tilled while the events of the war continue to unfold so that the suffering does not get any worse. Three stories show how this is achieved with a great deal of confidence from the local people and with the support of KfW.

Psychological support for kindergarten teachers and children

Two children play at a table in kindergarten № 14 (renovated by USIF) in Lviv.

Carefree play is still possible in the kindergarten.

The war in Ukraine is hitting children hard. The regular wailing of sirens and having to move to shelters or bunkers, at day and night – all this is now part of everyday life. Precisely for this reason it is so important to keep schools and kindergartens open, as being together with others and playing with peers can bring relief and joy. Conversely, learning progress would be lost or, worse still, skills could not be acquired in the first place.

Children certainly need support and a different care during such times. Kindergarten teachers have to adapt to this, too. To show them useful tips and tricks, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) offers, among others, psychological training courses during times of crisis in Ukraine. In October and November alone, more than 4,300 psychologists and educators attended such courses. Among them were three women from a child care facility in Zhytomyr, a major city in Central Ukraine. They attended a three-day course and learned, for example, how to use the power of imagination and distraction to calm and soothe children. This may involve soft music or a game where everyone dreams of being butterflies “floating” through the room.

A group of children in a relaxation room with beds.

Children can also play in the child-friendly shelter during an alarm.

In Zhytomyr, the teachers apply what they have learned from the UNICEF courses and have tried to create a refuge for the children, where they can feel safe and secure despite all the dangers. That also holds true for the shelter attached to the kindergarten – it is painted in bright colours and full of toys. In the event of an air-raid siren, the children have less space there, but they can continue to play. And if they still get scared, the teachers draw on the pedagogical strategies they have learned. “The new techniques help children communicate with each other and reduce stress,” one teacher explained.

Together for Ukraine

KfW and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) have been working in partnership for many years to promote sustainable development, economic growth and investment opportunities in Ukraine.(Source; KfW / GIZ) - video in English and Ukrainian language with English subtitles

Joint reconstruction of a destroyed car workshop

Khrystyna Stelmashchuk in front of the cars that were destroyed on the day of the attack. The Stelmashchuk family's car repair shop in Lviv was largely destroyed by a Russian missile.

Khrystyna Stelmashchuk in front of cars destroyed by Russian missiles in April 2022.

The Stelmashchuk family from Lviv has been through a lot: in April 2022, a Russian missile destroyed their car repair shop. The projectile hit the company’s yard at 8:30 a.m. Its intended target was likely the adjacent railway line. The attack took its toll on the people there, too: four employees of the company were killed and two injured. The workshop was like a debris field.

“It was very difficult to see my father that day,” recalls the daughter of the entrepreneur who founded the workshop 13 years ago. “He built the company. It was his life’s work. People died that day. The military was there. The fire brigade came. It was difficult to keep a calm head. After an hour, there was another air raid warning. We had to leave everything as it was, even a building that was still burning when we went back into the shelter.”

Group photo of employees at a car repair shop in the Lviv region of Ukraine

The company is now doing well again. But the family business experienced a bleak period. Here are some of the employees.

Her father said: “In the first four days, we were concerned solely with funerals. That was the most important thing at that moment. When we thought about how to proceed, the employees came to me and said, ‘We don't want to leave. What can we do next?’ Then they started to clear away the rubble and plan what to do next. We removed 29 truck loads of 30 cubic metres each. All the machinery was destroyed.”

With a great deal of commitment and personal initiative, they all worked together in the months that followed. They also received support by the SME Boost programme, set up by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and financed by KfW on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). With the funds made available, they were able to re-equip the workshop and, for instance, purchase four vehicle lifts.

“The attack was terrible,” states the entrepreneur. However, by working together and receiving the necessary external support, the company recovered. “Today we have 50 employees again.”

Energy is a permanent matter of concern

Olexandr Malyon, an employee of Ukrenergo, stands in front of a transformer station in the central region of the

A substation in Ukraine

Dressed in a work outfit and helmet, Roman* stands in front of a substation somewhere in Ukraine. With a serious face and a determined voice, he says: “Despite the shelling and all the attacks, we held on.” As he speaks, he turns his head and points to the energy facilities behind him. ”This is our contribution to preserving Ukraine’s independence, energy independence in particular. We won´t allow that we will lose our independence.”

Facts and background on KfW's aid to Ukraine

KfW remains a close partner of Ukraine. It will continue to support the country in this difficult time, standing reliably by its side and assuming responsibility. This applies to strengthening Ukraine’s resilience in the current war situation as well as to its reconstruction and the rapprochement process with the EU.

Read more

Roman* heads a unit of the state-owned energy company Ukrenergo – an important power grid operator in the country. There is a reason for his strong words: the Russian military is carrying out targeted attacks on Ukraine's power grid, mostly with missiles, but often also with drones.

It was particularly drastic in the winter of 2022: the attacks damaged or even destroyed almost half of the transmission grid and up to 60 % of the power plants. According to Ukrenergo, every hour about 12 million people were without lights during that time. With international support from KfW and others, 95 % of the ultra-high voltage transmission grid had been restored before the winter period 2023-2024.

Residents of the city of Kyiv clear away the rubble after an attack, construction workers repair roads and power lines.

Destroyed power lines in Kyiv are being repaired.

Permanent work on the power grid is one of the most important goals of the Ukrainian government, as electricity is an indispensable prerequisite for almost everything. Whether companies, schools or hospitals, whether apartments or heating systems – electricity is always involved. Ukrenergo has more than seventy mobile repair teams or a total of 1.500 specialists in operation. They work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. At great risk to their lives, they try to repair damages as quickly as possible after attacks.

The network is a permanent "construction site" for Ukraine. Alexander*, chief engineer of a substation, says: "It's an endlessly stressful situation. I love my job, but I'm always afraid that an attack might come and I'll be the target. But I just say to myself that we have to stand up to it. After that, the good life will come again."

* For security reasons, Ukrenergo engineers are only referred to by their first names.

Published on KfW Stories on 7 June 2024.


All United Nations member states adopted the 2030 Agenda in 2015. At its heart is a list of 17 goals for sustainable development, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our world should become a place where people are able to live in peace with each other in ways that are ecologically compatible, socially just, and economically effective.