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4 June 2020 - News


Pavel* moved from the Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine to Dnipropetrovsk with his mother Svetlana* because of the conflict

Friday 27 May 2016

«I like going to the Child Friendly Space. I feel safe and secure there. What I particularly like to do in the Child Friendly Space is to kick balls around, play board games and draw different things during the drawing sessions. I paint cats and dogs, but today I have drawn fruit as I think they’re beautiful. I also like creating figures from the sand. I love to study English during the English language classes, take part in the holidays, watch puppet shows and dance in the Child Friendly Space,» says 8-year-old Pavel* who moved from Donetsk when the city came under intense shelling with his mother Svetlana*.

 “Last January intense shelling started in the centre of Donetsk and we decided to move immediately. We wanted to escape from the conflict. I am a psychologist and ran my own private practice in Donetsk. But I don’t have a job now as it’s difficult to work full time and raise my son.” says Pavel’s mother.

 Svetlana was concerned about how the conflict had impacted her son so she registered him at Save the Children’s Child Friendly Space (CFS). Pavel started to attend both individual and group activities, which helped him find new friends, adjust to life in their new home and increase his confidence.

 “Pavel saw the horrors of the war in Donbas and we were even caught in shelling once. This influenced my son’s behavior badly. He started to be more reserved and quiet. He experienced stress and a psychologist tried to help him cope with it.

 We tried to find the centers where psychologists could help my son cope with the stress. But we couldn’t find such places or afford the activities there. Then we found out about the CFS. There was a lovely home atmosphere and we found new friends in the Child Friendly Space.

 We like everything about the Child Friendly Space as it is a perfect place for children like Pavel. When my son started to attend individual and group activities there, I saw a change in his behavior. He became more confident and kind as well as acquired some new knowledge.”

Save the Children runs Child Friendly Spaces in Ukraine to help the most vulnerable children cope with stress and adjust to new life.

With funding from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, Save the Children implements Healing and Education Through the Arts (HEART) activities in the Child Friendly Spaces in Ukraine to help children recover from the violence and stress they are experienced. In our Child Friendly Spaces we also run psychosocial activities that allow children to express their feelings and needs, appreciate their identity and accept others.

Save the Children is also delivering positive parenting training sessions to parents and caregivers so they can help their children adapt to the new environment, protect them from harm and promote their resilience.

Pavel’s mother Svetlana attended the Positive Parenting Courses and found them to be very useful.

“During the sessions, parents share their thoughts on how to bring up a child, and facilitators provide us with some useful advice. I take notes all the time during the sessions, read them a thousand times afterwards and try to put them into practice while raising my son.”

*Names have been changed to protect identities