During January 3-12, 20 children from the front-line Maryinka (Donetsk region) and its surroundings participated in the Recovery and Rehabilitation Camp “Caramel” in Volovets, Zakarpatytia region. The trip and rehabilitation of children took place within the framework of the “Helping Hand for Ukraine” project, implemented by “HOPE worldwide Ukraine” Charity Foundation in cooperation with “HOPE worldwide Canada”.
Children aged 10-12 years, living in a “red zone” and traumatized by military activities in Eastern Ukraine, received the necessary psychological assistance. During the whole camp they worked with the experienced psychologists who were trained in the “Children and War: Teaching Recovery Techniques” method. The activities within small 4-children groups and a specially designed rehab program allowed paying attention to each individual child, teach them self-help techniques in combating anxieties, stress, fears, and nightmares related to the war trauma.
The children got rid of obsessive memories, painted their terrible dreams, learned to sleep “in the right way”, quickly relax and restore their energy. They drew the stairs to their fears and step by step boldly overcame them, gaining hope and confidence. They also were drawing angels who guarded them daily during this difficult life, dreamed about their future: professions, families, houses and cities, where there will be peace and there will be no war!
The children also enjoyed tours to the Shypit Waterfall (at the foot of Gemba mountain) and the Palanok Castle (Mukachevo), a trip to the mountains with a lift on the cable car and sleigh rides, as well as hot chocolate. During the art-therapy workshops they created Christmas gifts for their loved ones. At the theater and dance lessons they were preparing deep and emotional performances that touched hearts of everyone in the audience. In addition, the children learned the carols and tasted a tasty “kutya” (tradition al main dish at Christmas Eve) from the chef of the camp.
Everything was inspiring: mountains, air, warm atmosphere of acceptance and love, sincere conversations, new friends, games, therapy sessions and dreams about the future!
The organizers received positive feedbacks from parents, and here are some of them:
Lyudmila Aleksandrivna, grandmother of Valeriya Sukhoruchko (Georgiivka, Maryinka district, Donetsk region): “We are very grateful for a exciting entertaining and insightful holiday for children. The most striking impression is the tour to the Shypit Waterfall and therapy sessions. Exercises which my granddaughter learned in the training, she plans to conduct at home. With great respect and gratitude for your hard and necessary work”.
Svitlana Hiricheva (Donetsk region): “A very warm welcome. The child was busy all the time. Most importantly, now my daughter is almost not afraid of darkness any more. Many thanks to all people who spent time with our children!”
Tetyana Salo (Donetsk region): “My daughter was in the camp for the first time. I liked everything: meals, rooms in which the children lived, the work of the leaders (attentive, kind, able to engage and, if necessary, help). A wonderful leisure organization where there is space for everything that can have a positive impact on children! Thank you so much again!”
Igor and Natalya Voin (Marinka, Donetsk region): “Most of the children remember the tours and therapy sessions. Thank you so much!”