In October 2021, classes under the program “Children and War. Teaching Recovering Techniques” took place in another school in the city of Kramatorsk, Donetsk region. In her post on [...]
About the project
“Helping Hand for Ukraine” International Relief Project
Give a “Helping Hand” for children who received war trauma as result of military actions in Eastern Ukraine
“HOPE worldwide Ukraine” Charity Foundation has started the implementation of the project for psychologists, social workers, educators and volunteers who work in Donetsk and Luhansk regions – “Helping Hand for Ukraine: Psycho-Social Support Program”, which will involve 54 participants into the learning process and practice during March-September 2021.
The “Helping Hand for Ukraine: Psycho-Social Support Program” Project is aimed at contributing to the improvement of the mental health and rehabilitation services for children with war trauma in Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine by introducing a psychosocial support training program to school psychologists, social workers, and pedagogical students. We aspire to strengthen the competencies of mental health care and rehabilitation specialists and increase the access to psychological rehabilitation services development activities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The Project is financed from the funds of the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania.
Within the frames of the project we plan to conduct:
- Three 3-day trainings “Children and War. Teaching Recovery Techniques” in Kramatorsk (March 15-17), Lysychansk (April 03-05), and Slovyansk (April 06-08),
- Seven online meetings – supervision for the participants who will conduct therapy courses with children and parents after the training (supervision will be held for small groups, 2-6 participants,, in April-September),
- One 3-day sum-up conference “Coping with War Trauma. Mental Health and Rehabilitation Services” for all participants in Carpathians in August 2021.
Each project participant will participate in one 3-day training, 7 supervision meetings and a concluding conference. Donbas State Pedagogical University (Slovyansk, Ukraine) is a partner of the project in organization of the “Children and War. Teaching Recovery Techniques” trainings.
The Call for applications to participate in the Project is open. The deadline for registrations is March 28, 2021:
- Apply for the training in Lysychansk, April 03-05, 2021 – https://forms.gle/abWrYM88MCvq6pnF7
- Apply for the training in Slovyansk, April 06-08, 2021 – https://forms.gle/jnnxtwVTDhNTJ7SA6
Project Relevancy and Statistics
The sad reality of the current humanitarian crisis in Ukraine due to military actions in Eastern Ukraine has motivated many non-governmental organizations to develop and implement projects targeting the internally displaced persons (IDPs). According to the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, as of February 04, 2016, there are 1,714,719 officially registered IDPs in Ukraine, while UNDP representatives in Kyiv note that around 5 million people in Ukraine currently need humanitarian aid. Preliminary statistics say about increase of the number of IDPs in Ukraine and the unofficial estimate of both registered and non-registered internally displaced people amounts up to over 2 million people.
Working with IDPs, children with war trauma and their parents, is a new challenge for the local professionals – social workers, state emergency service workers, practicing and school psychologists, educators and volunteers. The need for methods and techniques dealing with trauma and assisting IDPs and their social re-insertion into new communities increases.
War Trauma – How it Effects Children – Need for Psychological Assistance
During these difficult times, many Ukrainians suffer from military actions in Eastern Ukraine. They face the loss of their close ones, loss of their own homes, forced migration, anxiety and worries. These events are especially traumatizing for children. Children witness artillery bombing and shooting, watch the destruction of their native city or village and their own homes. Such experiences can cause different psychological traumas.
Children traumatized by war are easily scared by loud noises, some of them are afraid to go outside the house. Many of them become depressed; they often cry, exhibit anxiety and worry. Others become nervous, inclined to sudden irritation and anger. Many children face problems with sleeping: they wake up in the middle of the night crying and speak of awful nightmares. Thoughts about the past cause such sadness that they try to force out those memories and avoid any reminders of the past events.
The needs for psychological assistance of those who witnessed and survived the events of war are of utmost importance. Particularly, a focus has to be made on children, traumatized by war, since their experiences and skills to deal with stress, depression and panic will directly influence their chances for fulfilling lives.
About the “Helping Hand for Ukraine” Project
The Project aims to improve the socio-emotional and psychological conditions of children with war trauma and their families (IDPs) who witnessed and suffered military actions in Eastern Ukraine.
The Project will:
- train the trainers (therapists/psychologists, social workers, teachers, educators, volunteers) to work with “Children and War: Teaching Recovery Techniques” manual;
- provide psychological assistance (therapy sessions) to children and their parents (IDPs, families of ATO soldiers, those who live in the “red” war zone), teaching them skills of psychological self-assistance and techniques of relaxation;
- foster relations of trainers with state social services in order to ensure immediate attention from professionals to cases of mild and severe mental problems as well as constant aftercare and social support.
We aim to:
- prevent the development of PTSD symptoms and depression in children who received war trauma;
- prevent the need for specialized treatment services in the future;
- help kids learn how to cope with stressful situations and complicated life circumstances in future;
- help families of internally displaced persons activate and mobilize their own inner resources and foster better social integration and adaptation in the new communities.
Project Methodology. “Children and War: Teaching Recovery Techniques” Program
“Children and War: Teaching Recovery Techniques” manual constitutes the methodological basis of the project. It has been developed in frames of cooperation between the Center for Crisis Psychology (Bergen, Norway) and the Institute of Psychiatry (London, Great Britain). In Ukraine, the manual was translated and adapted by the experts from the Ukrainian Institute of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Lviv, Ukraine).
The manual is developed based on effective-evidence-based methods of treating children’s post-traumatic stress disorder. It has been used in many countries, including Greece, Turkey, China, Sri Lanka, and Iran following natural disasters and during warfare. It proved to be beneficial for those who attended the sessions, thus the manual is considered to serve as a tool for positive mental health therapy. The manual is designed to be used by people, who are not necessarily very experienced in child mental health issues. Primarily, it is used by teachers, social workers, psychologists after short preliminary training. It is important for the implementation of our project as it allows, in a short period of teaching, trainers in Ukraine to use the manual in their work with children with war trauma.
Children who have learned and practiced the techniques will be less likely to need specialist treatment services in the future.
Project Achievements in 2014-2020
- Over 20 tons of humanitarian aid has been delivered to over 7,000 IDPs in different regions of Ukraine in cooperation with partner-organisations.
- Over 900 volunteers are engaged in project activities.
- Over 500 practicing psychologists, social workers, emergency service employees, volunteers went through a 3-day “Children and War. Teaching Recovery Techniques” training in 24 regions of Ukraine.
- Over 3000 children and over 800 parents went through 7 sessions of the “Children and War” rehabilitation therapy course in Kyiv region, Zhytomyr region, Odesa region, Dnipropetrovsk region, Kharkiv region, Donetsk region, and Luhansk region.
- 3 rehabilitation-recreation camps for 64 children from Maryinka (Donetsk region) have been held within the “Children and War” program.
The survey, which included questionnaires and testing before and after therapy, has been held among participants of the therapy sessions. According to the results of the survey, improvement of psycho-emotional condition and ability to cope with post-traumatic stress was improved in over 90% of participants.
In the course of therapy children make friends within the group, stop avoiding eye contact, hug each other and probably for the first time after traumatic experience – start feeling safe.
“How can I help my child?” is the most frequently asked question amongst parents. During therapy parents are taught how to deal with child trauma; they also learn about other aspects of raising a child. It is utterly important that parents too can work with their own traumatic experiences, receive professional psychological assistance and support from other parents within the group. They can as well make friends; unite to solve routine issues of living conditions.
The donors and partners of the project are:
HOPE worldwide Canada
HOPE worldwide Switzerland
Kyiv Church of Christ
Ukrainian Credit Union Limited (UCU)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania
The Embassy of Canada in Ukraine
Kyiv City Centre for Social Services for Families, Children and Youth
Ukrainian Institute of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (Lviv, Ukraine)
Donbas State Pedagogical University (Slovyansk)
Luhansk Regional Psychological Service Training Centre
Red Cross Society in Ukraine (Kyiv)
Mental Health and Counselling Centre of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Pokrovsk) and over 60 more state institutions and nongovernmental organisations.
How You Can Help:
You can donate online:
- on our website by clicking the orange Donate button at the top of this page, selecting the “Helping Hand” and way of payment;
- Canadians wanting to help can make donations here (choose the last one in the drop list – International: Ukraine (Helping Hand Program).
HOPE worldwide invites you to join in and become our partner to provide humanitarian aid and psychological assistance to children who received war trauma as result of military actions in Eastern Ukraine. Let’s unite our efforts to support Ukraine!