Media Centre - Media release - 3 June 2024

Ukraine’s adolescent girls suffer lost education and mental health struggles amid war  

Girls displaced by the war in Ukraine face severe educational disruption and mental health challenges. A new report, Adolescent Girls in Crisis: Voices from Ukraine, Poland and Romania, published by Plan International, highlights the harsh realities faced by adolescent girls and youth (aged 10-19) caught in the crossfire.

“Even in our own house, we don’t feel safe anymore. The night is the hardest, with the endless sound of sirens,” said Inna, a 15-year-old girl who lives near Kyiv whilst discussing the constant state of alertness her family experiences.

The research reveals that both those who remain in Ukraine and those who have fled to neighbouring countries such as Moldova, Poland, and Romania are facing significant challenges. Their education has been severely disrupted, with many falling behind in their studies or dropping out entirely.

The war and displacement have made them vulnerable to sexual harassment and exploitation, while also leading to a surge in anxiety, depression, and other psychological issues among these girls.

Despite these hardships, the report also reveals the remarkable resilience of these girls. Despite the challenges they face, they hold onto a clear vision for a future built on peace and inclusivity.

“Through this research, we uncover the often-ignored voices and perspectives of adolescent girls affected by the war in Ukraine. Sadly, their opinions are often overlooked. Adolescent girls and young people in all their diversity must be included in the recovery and reconstruction of their country, to achieve gender equality, and women’s and girls’ rights”, said Sven Coppens, Director of Plan International’s Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Response in East and Central Europe.

Plan International has been actively supporting those affected by the war in Ukraine since 2022, reaching nearly 650,000 individuals, including over 259,000 girls and boys. The efforts focus on delivering essential services in critical areas such as mental health and psychosocial support, education, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The report serves as a powerful call to action for donors, practitioners, and policymakers ahead of the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin, Germany which begins on 11th June 2024.

The report underscores the need for immediate and targeted interventions to address the critical needs of adolescent girls in and from Ukraine. Prioritising their access to education, mental health services, and participation in recovery efforts.

This is essential to ensure a more sustainable and equitable future as the war continues to have a devastating impact on their mental health, their ability to go to school, their sense of safety and their access to sexual and reproductive health services.



  • This report presents findings from research carried out in Ukraine, Moldova, Poland and Romania between August and October 2023 with 135 adolescent girls, 36 adolescent boys, 30 caregivers of adolescents, and 15 key stakeholders.
  • The research employed a participatory approach, centralising the perspectives of adolescent girls (15-19) affected by the crisis. This involved online workshops to empower them and guide the research design, data collection, and interpretation.
  • Data collection utilised mixed methods including focus groups, interviews, and storytelling activities with adolescent girls (10-19), boys (10-19), and caregivers. Thematic analysis focussed on protection, education, health rights, participation, mental health, and aspirations, considering gender and regional context.

For further information or interview requests, please contact:

Rilian Agunos, Global Media Manager (Disasters), Plan International
Tel: +1 519 835 5105
[email protected]

About Plan International

Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. We believe in the power and potential of every child but know this is often suppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion, and discrimination. And it is girls who are most affected.

For over 85 years, we have rallied other determined optimists to transform the lives of all children in more than 80 countries.

Since 2022, we have been actively engaged in Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, and Romania as part of a Regional Response to the war in Ukraine. Our primary strategic goal is to enhance and augment the humanitarian efforts of civil society partners, with a focus on mitigating the vulnerabilities and risks faced by refugees, displaced individuals, and those affected by the war in Ukraine and neighbouring host nations. Specifically, our efforts target girls, young people, and minority or non-dominant groups, aiming to bolster their resilience, well-being, and agency.

Our commitment extends to providing immediate humanitarian aid to children and their families impacted by the war. This conflict has resulted in a staggering number of civilian casualties, widespread destruction, and the displacement of millions, compelling us to act swiftly to address the urgent needs arising from these dire circumstances. Having work in hand with almost 50 partners, we have reached over 650.000 people affected by the war in Ukraine, through our strategic topics: humanitarian assistance; child protection; mental health and psycho-Social support; education and learning; gender-based violence; and sexual reproductive health rights.

We won’t stop until we are all equal.

Media contacts

Claire Knox

Media & PR Manager
0452 326 549

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