About the project

“Helping Hand for Ukraine” International Relief Project

Give a “Helping Hand” for children traumatized by russian aggression and war against Ukraine

Annual Report – Feb 2023-Feb 2024

The “Helping Hand in Ukraine” International Relief Project operates since 2015.

The Project aims to:

  • improve the socio-emotional well-being and psychological state of Ukrainian children and adults with war trauma, who are displaced internally and outside Ukraine (IDPs and refugees) due to russian aggression and war against Ukraine;
  • prevent PTSD and depression in children traumatized by war;
  • prevent the need for specialized treatment in the future;
  • lessen children’s anxiety and empower them with psychological self-help techniques and skills to cope with stress;
  • foster better social adaptation of IDPs.


  • empower children – equips children with skills to cope with their traumatic experience using self-help techniques, relaxation, and recovery tools in conditions of intense war-related stress;
  • empower trainers – trains psychologists, social workers, and teachers to work with traumatized children using “Children and War. Teaching Recovery Techniques”;
  • foster cooperation with state social services – ensures immediate attention from professionals to cases of mild and severe mental problems as well as constant aftercare and social support.


  • prevented PTSD depression in children of war;
  • no need for further specialized treatment in the future;
  • children learn how to cope with stress;
  • better social adaptation of internally displaced (IDPs) and refugees.


According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as of December 31, 2022, the humanitarian situation in Ukraine deteriorated drastically and rapidly 2022, following the dramatic escalation of eight years of conflict in the east of the country into a full-scale war. Since the Russian Federation’s 24 February invasion of Ukraine, the number of people in need of humanitarian aid and protection increased from approximately 3 million people to nearly 18 million, and hostilities and fighting spread across the country. Throughout the year, millions of Ukrainians endured intense hostilities, which killed and injured thousands of civilians, forced millions from their homes, destroyed jobs and livelihoods, and left many struggling to access food, water, health care, education, a safe place to live, and other essential services. Massive destruction of civilian infrastructure across the country decimated essential services, including energy, water supply, and heating. During the last quarter of 2022, continued attacks on energy infrastructure caused an energy crisis, testing the whole country’s resilience and creating a new dimension of the humanitarian crisis, as the country entered the cold winter season. Millions have been left without power, heating, and water for days on end across Ukraine.

The war has also caused immense mental trauma, particularly for children. Authorities reported an estimated 15 million Ukrainians to be in need of psycho-social support because of the war. WHO also concluded that at least 9.6 million people may have mental health conditions after being exposed to the horrors of fighting and hostilities. From overcoming war trauma, to social isolation, to daily struggles without power and heating, to displacement-related challenges, and more, the consequences of the war are expected to cause mental health problems for at least five years after the war ends.



The “Children and War. Teaching Recovery Techniques” methodology is an effective tool of psychological self-help for people with traumatic consequences of war, natural disasters, and other cataclysms. It works well with both children and adults, as it is a result of the combined years of direct experience of working with survivors of war and disaster.

It was developed in 1998 by professionals from the Institute of Psychiatry in London, the UK, and the Center for Crisis Psychology in Bergen, Norway, and has been used after earthquakes in Iran, India, Chile, and China, the tsunami in South East Asia in 2000, as well as war conflicts in Africa, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine. In Ukraine, the manual was translated and adapted by experts from the Ukrainian Institute of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Lviv, Ukraine). Since 2015, it has been successfully used to teach trainers and to conduct therapy courses in Ukraine within the framework of the “Helping Hand in Ukraine” project, implemented by “HOPE worldwide Ukraine” Charity Foundation.

The program primarily aims to provide support to children. At the same time, we conduct therapy sessions also for parents and other adults. Unfortunately, many children who suffered from war exhibit traumatic symptoms and signs of post-traumatic stress disorder after they experienced life-threatening situations. Displacement, separation from their family, and disruption of the school studying process – all influence the mental health of children. Considering the growing number of Ukrainian children who suffered from war, it is important to equip them with the best trauma coping strategies and tools. “Children and War. Teaching Recovery Techniques” program is one of such strategies.

This innovative methodology promotes the development of special skills in children and adults for reducing the psychological after-effects of trauma through self-help, relaxation and healing techniques in the face of intense war-related stress. In addition, it is designed to reduce anxiety and prevent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other complications in the future.



  • 0% re-traumatization during therapy sessions;
  • 90% of participants note improvement in their psycho-emotional condition and ability to cope with post-traumatic stress;
  • 100% of participants start feeling safe and relaxed within the group.



  • During a therapy course, children and adults acquire practical skills and techniques that help to cope with the psychological consequences of disastrous events and can be used as self-help tools to cope with critical stressful situations in the future;
  • The learning methodology is well thought-through by the experts and comprises tools that proved to be effective for over 20 years of practice in different cultures and conditions;
  • The effectiveness of therapy is impressive – children become less anxious, sleep better, get rid of nightmares, intrusive thoughts and panic attacks, and they start to feel safe more often;
  • It is proven that the participants of the program who learned and started to practice recovery techniques regularly will rarely need professional treatment in future.

To become a trainer in the “Children and War. Teaching Recovery Techniques” methodology one doesn’t need to have a psychological education. Teachers, youth workers, pedagogues, psychologists, counselors, community leaders, volunteers, and other childcare professionals can take a 3-day training and become program trainers who can conduct therapy sessions with groups.


  • 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.




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

CF “Rokada”

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)

Canada-Ukraine Foundation

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.


To donate, please click the orange DONATE button at the top of this page, selecting the “Helping Hand” and way of payment. Please, write “Donation” and add your e-mail address if you need a Donation Receipt.


“HOPE worldwide Ukraine” invites you to join in and become our partner to provide humanitarian aid and psychological assistance to children who suffer from russian aggression and war against Ukraine. Let’s unite our efforts to support Ukraine’s future!


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