Merry holidays for Donbas children. A BLOG by Andrey Khvorostyanko, project head of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation
To allow the children to relax in the summer and improve their health change the environment, to learn something new and to spend time in the company of peers. Children living in difficult war conditions of the Donbass particularly need this. But not all families from the conflict zone can afford a trip to the children’s camp. Life there is such that not everyone can afford food.
Therefore, the Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center has been organizing a summer camp for children and youth from low-income families, residing on the uncontrolled territory or the contact line, for the fourth consecutive year.
This program is called "Peaceful Summer for Donbas Children". It was launched in the summer of 2015 and since then 500 children aged eight to fourteen become participants of this program each year. This year we will continue this tradition.
The first session will arrive to the "Perlyna Donechchyny" health camp on July 1. There will be three sessions before August 11. Children will rest in an ecologically clean area - on the territory of the “Sviati Hory” National Park. The health camp is surrounded by a coniferous forest along the shore of a lake with a sandy beach.
In addition to salutary air, this place is known for the fact that the health camp offers five meals a day, including vitamin therapy, and the drinking water is taken from artesian wells that are 158 meters deep.
Summer vacation for children from the combat zone is not a traditional pastime in the camp. When the Center developed the "Peaceful Summer for Donbas Children" program, it realized that the children needed special assistance in coping with their emotions and events of the war.
Psychologists, who have been trained in the Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center under the "Trauma of War" program, will work with the children in the camp. The children will work out their fears and anxiety through special games and art therapy. They will feel that they are not alone, that there are children like them, who go to school every day with the risk of dying under fire, who worry about the lives of parents and relatives. Experts argue that collective cohesion is one of the important factors of releasing stress.
Psychologists will also help children answer questions of how to increase self-confidence, build relationships with parents and even find motivation to learn.
Of course, this leisure will be very active: exercising in the morning, playing football, basketball, volleyball, table tennis and chess. Physical rest relaxes and eventually helps to talk with children about difficult things in a simple and understandable language.
Every child will be able to find an activity he likes. The camp will have a dancing, vocal, tourist, drama hobby group. There will also be classes in drawing, pyrography, stone cutting, weaving and clay therapy. Master classes and trainings will help develop abilities and creativity, give children the opportunity to understand something new and valuable about them.
All of this is so unlike their everyday life that the children will certainly regain their strength and receive the energy charge for a year ahead. But the most important thing they will have - new acquaintances and communication with each other. Adults may forget, but every child knows that the best sandwich is the one that is fried at the bonfire in the circle of peers. And if it is done in the forest on the shore of the lake, then this is also the best medicine in the world from all diseases and bad experience.
Therefore, the Rinat Akhmetov Center tries to present a summer holiday with games and new friends to as many children from the war zone as possible. That is how it always has been and will always be because the goal of the Center is to let the children - our future generation - grow up happily. Because only happy children become happy adults who stop wars and change the world for the better.