For Ukrainian children forced out of their homes by the war, a warm reception from children in their host community can make a world of difference. In Prahova, Romania, a group of schoolchildren organized a getting-to-know-you party to greet the newest arrivals from Ukraine.

Arranged with help from their teacher, with support from UNICEF and Zonta International, the welcome event included collaborative art-making projects and get-acquainted activities. 

“What makes me happiest is that we put a smile on the children’s faces,” said 10-year-old Maria.

Separated only by circumstance, Romanian children greet Ukrainian refugees with open arms:

“We are all happy because we had things to learn from each other,” said Teodora, 10. “We learned to communicate with other people too, not only those who are from our country or speak our language. “We’re all human beings and we all have a soul and a heart. And we want to make new friends.”

For 10-year-old Alexandru, stepping up to welcome children caught up in the war was a chance to unlock his own superpowers. “I felt like a hero for them,” he said. “I made new friends today and I am very happy. They shouldn’t be afraid, no matter what might happen, because if you’re brave and if you have a joyful heart, you can do anything. You will overcome any barrier.”

More than 2.25 million Ukrainian children are living in refugee-host countries. UNICEF is working to ensure that all children affected by the war in Ukraine receive the support and services they need to survive and thrive. Your contribution can make a difference. Please donate today. 

Top photo: Local children in Prahova, Romania, visited a refugee reception center to make friends with a group of newly arrived Ukrainian kids. The children spent hours making art together and having fun. The event was organized by the children’s teacher, with help from UNICEF and Zonta International. © UNICEF/UN0630189/Moldovan