PROJECT ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2015-2021:
- Over 40 tons of humanitarian aid has been delivered to over 20,000 IDPs in different regions of Ukraine in cooperation with partner organisations.
- Over 900 volunteers are engaged in project activities.
- Over 600 practicing psychologists, social workers, emergency service employees, and volunteers went through a 3-day “Children and War. Teaching Recovery Techniques” training in almost all regions of Ukraine.
- Over 4000 children and over 1000 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, Luhansk region, and other regions of Ukraine.
- 3 rehabilitation-recreation camps for 64 children from Maryinka, Krasnohorivka, Avdiivka, and other settlements of the Donetsk region have been held within the “Children and War” program.
You can see the results of the project one year after February 24, 2022, the start of the full-scale war against Ukraine, in the annual report.
SOME OF THE MANY STORIES:
Maryna is 10 years old. Her family comes from Vuhlehirsk, Donetsk region. She does not have a father; he left them before the war started.
War is not an empty word to Maryna. She witnessed a missile hit her neighbour’s house. Maryna and her mother rushed to help as they saw their injured neighbour woman lying unconscious on the kitchen floor. They brought the woman to the hospital.
Totally absorbed in their neighbour’s situation, they could not even realize what was going on; they even did not care about themselves. However, they were struck with the aftereffects of stress that same night: the girl could not fall asleep because of memories of the dreadful bombardment, and her mother was groaning in her sleep. The next morning, Maryna’s mother’s legs were paralyzed.
The bombardments went on. Maryna looked after her mother for a few days until she recovered. The same day, the family went to Kyiv, then to Odesa. The mother had to work a lot; she hardly ever had time to talk to her daughter. Maryna did everything on her own: went to school, did her homework, and attended sports classes. Everything looked fine on the outside, an ordinary family, but both of them had their own pain. The mother could not say a word about the events she had experienced. It was especially difficult to talk to her daughter Maryna. The girl did not tell her mother she couldn’t fall asleep because every night she heard the missiles exploding in her memories. Tired from insomnia she dozed away, but in her dreams, she could still see the bombardments. She became insensitive to everything. She often shuddered at the noises in public buses.
Maryna and her mother took part in the programme “Children and War. Teaching Recovery Techniques” in Odesa. The first accomplishment of mother and daughter was that they could cry among the people who experienced the war as well. The second achievement, thanks to the different techniques they were taught, they started to cope with their problems. Maryna could sleep better, she was no longer afraid of loud sounds, and her mother took a day off in order to have some rest. The biggest achievement was the day before the last class. Mother and daughter decided to drink tea together in order to look each other in the face and talk, finally! To talk without fear about what they experienced, how they love each other, and how they miss their destroyed house.
Anya is 15 years old. She lives in Derhachi (Kharkiv region). She has been living there with her parents since her childhood and stayed there when the war started until she came to the camp. Anya is an active and sociable girl, she likes to dance and read, and she dreams to become a journalist. During her stay in the camp, Anya attended therapy sessions with other children. At the meetings, she mostly listened and said that everything was fine with her and that her relatives were alive and healthy. In the fourth session, Anya shared her traumatic memories:
“My friend Vadym went with his brother to pick up his girlfriend from work. When they approached the school, an explosion occurred, Vadym was injured and as a result, he lost his leg. It was horror and despair, we didn’t know if he would survive… I have danced with him for more than ten years in a dance school, and now he has a prosthesis and is learning to walk again…” Anya did not dance after this incident. She could not. She felt that dancing at a time when Vadym was without a leg would be like betraying a friend.
While performing the “Screen” exercise, Anya noted that an image she sees all the time is an image of dancing with Vadym at a competition in peaceful Ukraine. Speaking in the group about Vadym, Anya expressed hope that her friend would be able to return to a normal life. Anya promised that she would help Vadim and make efforts so that he would walk again.
While drawing a “Traumatic Memory”, Anya supplemented her work – she drew herself and Vadym dancing together. Anya believes that Vadym will start dancing again, and in time they will be able to train and motivate children who were injured during the war to develop.
Liza is 9 years old. At first, she was silent, only watching how other children communicated with each other and with the trainers. Liza did not want to talk about herself and her traumatic experience. She answered the question evasively, saying that she had neither memories nor fears. During one of the sessions, when the participants were discussing their own nightmares, Liza was particularly sad. She didn’t talk to anyone, just performed the techniques in silence. When the trainers asked Liza to tell about her drawing, the girl said in a low voice: “Explosions, an ambulance, two adults are lying nearby, blood is flowing.” Liza didn’t say anything else that day.
The trainers learned from the counselors that Liza’s mother died, and her father was injured. Later, Liza told the trainers about that day. The girl and her parents were supposed to go for a walk. Liza left the house, followed by her parents, but her mother forgot her phone in the room, so she returned to get it. At that moment, a rocket hit the house. Mom died immediately, dad was injured. Liza did not know how to continue living without her mother.
At the last therapy session, Liza was hiding her drawing carefully, but the trainers managed to see the girl with big tears in her eyes. Liza didn’t say anything again, she took the picture with her… But then, when she received the gift, she shared her sweets with the trainers. When the trainers thanked Liza and asked her what she liked the most and if she wanted to go home, the girl answered: “Of course” and explained that her father was waiting for her, she was needed at home and would be able to teach him all the exercises that she now knows herself.
Children and War Foundation
Ukrainian Institute of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (Lviv, Ukraine)
Headquarters of SOS Civil Defense (Kamianets-Podilskyi)
Vasyl Stus Donetsk National University
Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University
CF “Voices of Children (Kyiv)
CF “For the Future of Ukraine” (Dnipro)
Donbas State Pedagogical University (Slovyansk)
Kyiv City Teacher’s House
“Spilno” UNICEF Project
Hryhoriy Skovoroda University (Pereyaslav)
Red Cross Society in Ukraine (Kyiv)
CO “SOS Children’s Villages”
“Psychologists at War” project of “Ukrainian Association of Psychotherapists and Business Trainers”
“Kozatskyi Nabat” NGO Centre of Adult Education (Nikopol)
Kamianets-Podilskyi City Social Services Centre for Family, Children and Youth
“Zorianytsia” space for children’s mental health recovery
Luhansk Regional Psychological Service Training Centre
Mental Health and Counselling Centre of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Pokrovsk)
Society of Samaritans of Ukraine (Zolote city, Luhansk region)
ATO family center “Poruch” (Kramatorsk, Donetsk region)
NGO “ProMir” (Slovyansk, Donetsk region)
Center for Social Rehabilitation of Disabled Children “Leleka” (Hirske, Luhansk region)
CF Mission “Podykh Nadiyi” (Maryinka, Donetsk region)
and over 60 more state institutions and non-governmental organisations.
HOPE worldwide Canada
HOPE worldwide Switzerland
HOPE worldwide (USA)
HOPE worldwide Norway
HOPE worldwide Global Disaster Response
Kyiv Church of Christ
Ukrainian Credit Union Limited (UCU)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania
TELUS Friendly Future Foundation
Canada Fund for Local Initiatives & Embassy of Canada in Ukraine.