Фонд "Право і демократія"

Broken childhoods: Repairing the damage wreaked by Russia on Ukraine’s youth

Broken childhoods: Repairing the damage wreaked by Russia on Ukraine’s youth

A camp aimed at helping Ukrainian children brought psychologists, educators and therapists to treat them for ailments caused by living under bombardment.

LVIV OBLAST —  At first, they seemed like a perfectly ordinary group of children as they got off the bus at the Alpine-style resort in the mountains of western Ukraine. But the psychologists and teachers waiting to greet them soon noticed something was not quite right.

Some were so withdrawn they barely spoke. Others would get into fights without provocation, or throw tantrums. Girls would randomly burst into tears and refuse to eat.

“They were all mentally and psychologically exhausted,” said Dmytro Vitvitsky, who was there that day. “Their nerves were shattered.”

The group was part of an innovative program aimed at helping Ukrainian children living on the front lines of the ongoing war with Russia. Created by a Ukrainian NGO based in the western city of Lviv, it brought psychologists, educators and physical therapists together to help treat them for a host of ailments caused by living under daily bombardment.

The program hosted five groups of 24 children, aged seven to 15, for two weeks each between May and November of last year at a resort-style rehabilitation facility in the Carpathian Mountains, near the Polish border.

“These are children who live under constant shelling and are constantly in the risk zone,” said Yulia Tishchenko, who was a staff psychologist in the program. “They’re dealing with the trauma of survival, a direct struggle between life and death every day.”

We can’t cure them in two weeks, but we can stabilize them

The children come from regions where fighting is still raging — Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk in the east, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv and Kherson in the south. They spend up to 15 hours a day in bomb shelters and cellars when Russian forces bombard their towns with rockets, drones and artillery.

“There were kids who were afraid of unfamiliar sounds and loud noises,” said Tishchenko. “There were those who didn’t want to sit with their backs to the window, or to the door. There were kids who were constantly hugging, because you have to look for protection when there’s the uncertainty of what’s going on behind your back.”

Copyright: https://nationalpost.com/news/repairing-ukraines-damaged-childhoods

Залишити відповідь

Закрити меню