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Psychologists from Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center are helping children in kindergartens to cope with «war trauma»


To help our little fellow countrymen, the psychologists of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center are conducting classes in the kindergartens of ATO area. This was announced during the briefing in "Ukrainsky Novyny" information agency by the Coordinator of the Humanitarian Center Rimma Fil.


Sleep disturbances, stuttering and fears. Every third child of preschool age, living in ATO area, has the symptoms of post-traumatic syndrome - the psychologists report. To help the boys and girls to return to their childhood, the psychologists of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center are conducting classes in the kindergartens of Donetsk and Makiivka, helping children by using special techniques.


"In May 250 psychologists of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center finished their six-month training on "War trauma" course, conducted by international specialists, who have many years of experience working in the hottest spots of the world, and received certificates. Now the Center's psychologists are actively working with affected and wounded children of Donbas on both sides of the contact line, conducting classes in summer camps, hospitals, schools and psychological support centres, – Rimma Fil said at the briefing. – Starting from the end of June our psychologists are also working in kindergartens of Donetsk and Makiivka. The Humanitarian Center's specialists are looking for children with war trauma to provide them with timely psychological support.


The program in the kindergartens is intended for 3-4 meetings. They are working with two age groups: 3-4 years old and 5-6 years old. The psychologists of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center note that children are more calm and trusting, if the family hasn't suffered strong psychological crisis caused by the war. It is much more difficult to work with children of senior preschool age.  Their anxiety and emotional instability are shown in hidden aggression towards their peers, uncomplimentary statements to their parents, and refusals to portray the whole family together. All this is directly related to the difficult situations they have found themselves in. Real life of children is mixed up with experienced nightmares. And the older the child, the greater the anxiety is.


In the course of their work the psychologists are facing different cases.


"For example, a five-year-old boy Dima drew his house that caught fire due to direct hit of shell. Now he constantly sees this burning house is his nightmares. At first the psychologists couldn't determine, whether it was his fantasy or reality. It turned out that Dima's family is currently living at their friends' place, as their home is destroyed, – the Coordinator of the Humanitarian Center shares. – And there is a great number of children like this. The goal of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center is to detect as many little Donbas civilians with war trauma, as possible, and to help them".


Only in July this year the specialists of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center are planning to provide primary psychological care to 7,000 children and their parents. During the whole period of Psychological Service operation, the assistance is provided to 18,000 families with children. But there is plenty of work ahead. Till the end of 2015 the geography of psychologists' presence in kindergartens will be expanding. Children from Yenakiieve, Khartsyzk, Horlivka, Mariupol and many other Donbas settlements will be able to get the qualified help of specialists.


"Today I brought several drawings for the briefing, they were made by children during art therapy classes. These children's drawing shall fly around the whole world. This is how the war looks according to Donbas children! These are the drawings in red, brown and black colours, representing explosions, destroyed houses, military equipment, and ammunition. These drawings show the whole tragedy. They are proving that the war has horrible consequences, – Rimma Fil thinks.

These particular drawings help the psychologists to determine that children are emotionally involved in the current events. They are not feeling security, they are showing aggression, increasing fear and anxiety. According to the specialists, it is better to work with these children now, while their feelings haven't "settled" in them and haven't flowed into the adulthood in the future.


"We really want our children not to make such drawings anymore. The earlier you address to psychologists for help, the less consequences of war trauma your child has.  We understand that the current work of Humanitarian Center's psychologists is aimed for the years ahead.  And only through active work we will save our society from the lost war generation, – Rimma Fil assures.