Ukraine: Upholding the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable citizens living with the effects of conflict and poverty

The average life expectancy for men in Ukraine is only 66 years, and those who make it to old age often live in poverty. Despite recent investment in community safety nets, a long history of lacking social benefits continues to haunt the country.

Pensions are so low that many resort to hard labour on the street. And while the agricultural sector now accounts for over 30 percent of Ukraine's exports, vast plains of fertile land have gone untapped - another unwelcome memento from the country's Soviet past.

Ukraine gained independence in 1991, yet politics have remained unstable for decades. Escalating violence between Russian-backed rebels and the military has led to a protracted crisis in eastern Ukraine.

The conflict has affected 5.2 million people. An estimated 3.5 million people still require urgent humanitarian assistance and protection. Many of them are older citizens left behind in the areas affected by the frozen conflict.


Ukraine has a population of 43 million people


Around 20 million people are living below the poverty line

Our Reach

In 2022 73,657 people took part in our programmes

What we do in Ukraine


The aim of our Ukraine programme is to ensure the improved wellbeing and resilience of vulnerable groups - such as IDPs, orphans and the country's large older population. Dorcas has been actively responding to the Ukrainian crisis since 2014. We provide emergency relief, psychosocial support and sustainable livelihoods opportunities to isolated communities in the conflict-affected Donbass region - and beyond.

Dorcas was the lead partner of the Dutch Relief Alliance's Ukraine Joint Response (2014-2019).  Watch this video to learn more about our work at the height of the conflict.

Safety Nets for older people

We set up community networks and safe spaces for older people to ensure they are included in the delivery of vital services and psychosocial support. Our activities see youth, churches and local authorities lead peer-to-peer support sessions and home-based care activities - especially targeted at elderly women and people with disabilities. Food parcels and hygiene kits are also provided.


Our entrepreneurial skills training and start-up support programmes help rural Ukrainians develop a career in the agricultural industry. Smallholders learn how to irrigate and fertilise crop lands to bring their produce to a higher standard - we then link them to domestic markets or identify needs locally.

Humanitarian Assistance

We deliver vital humanitarian assistance to internally displaced people (IDPs) and vulnerable families living close to the contact line. This includes the provision of cash for food and heating so that basic household needs are met. We also provide essential agricultural inputs and tools so that families can put food on the table and stay healthy.

Family Protection

We try to break the cycle of poverty - particularly among marginalised groups - and reduce the risk of abuse, by offering life skills and financial literacy training to teenagers and youth. Parents and caregivers are not exempt - we organise group forums on topics such as stress reduction, positive parenting and financial management where adults can speak freely and identify solutions.

Dorcas response to crisis in Ukraine

Dorcas is deeply concerned about the unfolding crisis in Ukraine. CEO Leo Visser states (24 February 22) : “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a terrible fact today. It is one of those moments in history that we will remember for a long time. We fervently hoped and prayed that it would not come to this. Many people will experience the consequences of this terrible war. As Dorcas we will do everything possible to support them.”

Follow our updates on the crisis in Ukraine and Dorcas' response.

Meet our Country Director…

Ferenc Katko - Country Director Ukraine

"In Ukraine, Dorcas has two localisation strategies at work to ensure our work has lasting impact. Firstly, our long history of collaboration with local churches means we are constantly able to invest in diaconal work that best serves the people. We also work closely with local authorities and other multi-stakeholder partners in a bid to bring systems change to the local level and empower communities to address problems of marginalisation and social exclusion. As you can see, both rest on the power of partnership. This is the only way that we can safeguard our effectiveness."


Our partners

Programme Partners

  • Baptist Church Union
  • Charity Foundation Blago
  • Charitable Fund 'Nevo'
  • Good Samaritan Children's home
  • Morning Star (Rankova Zirka)
  • New Beginning Charity Fund
  • New Hope Center Charity Fund
  • Reformed Church - several locations
  • Samuel Foundation
  • Ukranian Gospel Mission

Strategic Partners and Donors

  • Help Age
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Dutch Relief Alliance
  • Terre des Hommes

Contact Dorcas Ukraine

Address country office
Tserkovna street 5
Surte 89432
Ukraine, Transcarpathia

Address regional office
69104, Ukraine
PO Box 1049

Phone number
+38 031 267 19 74 (country office)
+38 095 601 10 07 (regional office)