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Olena Zelenska Foundation builds the first 14 houses for large foster families from the frontline regions


Olena Zelenska Foundation ESTDEV
A presentation of the “Room for Childhood” project by the Olena Zelenska Foundation was held in Kyiv with the participation of the First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska.

At the initiative of the Foundation’s founder, the construction of fourteen houses for large foster families (so-called family-type orphanages) who lost their homes due to the war has begun in 8 regions. The project is being implemented exclusively at the expense of international donors.

Today, there are 1310 large foster families in Ukraine. They take care of 5 to 10 orphans and children deprived of parental care. During the full-scale war, at least 80 such families lost their homes. All of them have moved to safer regions of Ukraine, but still do not have a permanent place of residence.

The family of Alla and Oleksander Yaroslavtsevi from Zaporizhzhia region will be one of the first to get a new home. Their home in their native village of Mykhailivka was completely destroyed. The parents and their eleven children are currently renting housing in the city of Boryspil, Kyiv region. The plot for the construction of a new house is located in the village of Revne near Boryspil, Kyiv region.

“The war ruthlessly destroys the plans of Ukrainian families for a happy future. Things, memories and dreams are left under the ruins of the house. We want to give children back their childhood, and give their parents a sense of security and stability. The Room for Childhood project is one of the ways we support families who have decided to take in children from orphanages. I am convinced that children should live with their parents, and our key task is to support them in this endeavor,” said Olena Zelenska, First Lady of Ukraine and founder of the Foundation, during the project presentation.

The new houses for large foster families will be inclusive, energy-efficient and energy-independent, furnished and equipped with household appliances. An underground modular bomb shelter made of concrete with metal blast-resistant doors and an additional emergency entrance for 12 people is planned for the yard. The total area of each house is 285.5 square meters.

“Room for Childhood” project is being implemented exclusively at the expense of international donors. The Foundation managed to raise USD 5.5 million for the construction of the first 14 houses. The project was supported by the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Estonia (ESTDEV), as well as the Australian Minderoo Foundation. The stories of all the families are impressive. Their courage and will to live. Even during the war, they continued to take in children from orphanages. Foster parents inspire us to keep working. I am grateful to our partners and patrons for their concern for our children. It is very important for us to return them to their homes,” said Nina Horbachova, Director of the Olena Zelenska Foundation.

“We are pleased to start a collaboration with the Olena Zelenska Foundation and support its important mission to give a home for the children orphaned by the war. Providing children with a safe and nurturing environment in which to grow up is an ambitious task for any country. For Ukraine, in this time of the war, this is an enormous challenge, and Estonia is ready to help,” said Andrea Kivi, Acting Executive Director at ESTDEV.


In April 2023, the Olena Zelenska Foundation launched the Room for Childhood project, a project to build housing for large families with many children, the so-called family-type orphanages. The houses will have 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, one of which is fully inclusive. Each child will have his or her own bed and desk for studying. The wooden house will have an insulated facade, a heat pump, an autonomous power supply and will not use gas. Construction has now begun in the Kharkiv, Kyiv, Cherkasy, Volyn, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, and Zakarpattia regions. The social housing built under the project is transferred to the balance sheet of the community. Families will be able to live in it for the duration of their large foster family.