The European Investment Bank (EIB) Group, via its philanthropic arm, the EIB Institute, has donated €200 000 to address the mental health and winter-related needs of the Karabakh Armenian children who have fled to Armenia following the military escalation in September 2023. Delivered through UNICEF, the donation will support up to 26 000 children and their families through a psychological support and mental health helpline, face-to-face mental health and psychosocial support and vouchers that will help them face the winter.
In late September, more than 100,000 people took refuge in Armenia with children making up more than one-third of the displaced population. Sustained mental health and psychosocial well-being interventions are crucial as these families rebuild their lives.
Thanks to the EIB Group donation, UNICEF will establish and operate a mental health helpline staffed by 20 trained counsellors for two years. The children and their caregivers can also receive face-to-face psychological support through play therapy, art therapy and group sessions. The donation will also support refugee families through vouchers that will help them to cover their essential needs as the winter season begins.
EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwińska, responsible for operations in Armenia, said, “We are glad to be able to support refugee children and their families in Armenia through UNICEF which is on the ground to meet their most urgent needs. Our donation will bring UNICEF’s well-targeted mental health and winter support to the children and their families that need it.”
“Children have suffered most from the conflict and displacement,” said Shiva Dustdar, director and dean of the EIB Institute. “It is a top priority for the EIB Institute to help them access the support and care they need to settle down and look forward to a brighter future. This donation will help UNICEF’s impactful mental health programme reach the children and their families who need it most.”
The EIB is the long-term financing institution of the European Union, owned by its Member States. It provides long-term finance for sound investments in pursuit of EU policy goals, supporting projects in four priority areas: infrastructure, innovation, climate and environment, and SMEs.
The EIB has worked with Armenia since 2008. Since then, 17 operations have been co-financed by the EIB with financing totaling €480 million in support of the European Neighborhood Policy and Eastern Partnership.