Czech Embassy in Ukraine: 480 children from the front-line areas of Luhansk and Donetsk regions will spend school autumn breaks in recreational camps

Kyiv, October 6, 2015. The embassy of the Czech Republic in Ukraine and activists of NGOs ‘Initiative E +’, ‘Vostok-SOS’ and scout organisation ‘Plast’ arranged recreation for children living in the frontline areas. They will spend their autumn holidays in the children’s camps in Odesa, Ternopil region, in the Carpathians and in Pushcha-Vodytsia nearby Kyiv. “Today we are united to help young citizens of Ukraine who are most affected by the conflict,” said Ivan Počuch, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic in Ukraine, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

In spring 2015, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized a recreational camp in the Czech Republic for 90 Ukrainian children from Donbas and for children of Czechs living in Ukraine. “Now we have decided to provide financial assistance to the camps for Ukrainian children from the front-line areas of Donbas and for children of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine. […] At the cost of the Czech Republic 480 children will go to the camps in October-November,” informed Ivan Počuch. This time the program is focused not only on recreation and leisure, but also on psychological rehabilitation. “In these camps children don’t only take part in games and entertaining events, but also restore their emotional health under supervision of professionals,” said the Ambassador.

“First of all, we selected children who witnessed hostilities and have greater needs for such assistance,” said Svitlana Tarabanova, coordinator of Vostok-SOS. All these  children come from Popasna district (including Popasna and Zolote), Stanychno-Luhanskyi district, Trohizbenka of Luhansk region, as well as from Avdiivka, Krasnohorivka and Mariinka of Donetsk region. Activists emphasized that they tried to choose children from the so-called “gray zone”, which neither volunteers nor humanitarian organizations can reach. “This week the first camp starts working, it will host 60 children from Avdiivka. The camp is in Ivano-Frankivsk region, in the Plast’s  tourist base “Sokil”. The second camp in Ternopil region will start working later,” said Dmitro Kolesnyk, executive director of acting director of NGO ’Plast – National Scout Organization of Ukraine’. The organisers promise to take into account the wishes of the children themselves when shaping the final excursion program. The vast majority of children who go on holidays aged 10 to 14 years, although there are also younger and older children aged 6 to 16 years. “Now the main problem is not only to take children to rest, but also to provide a possibility for them to live and study there,” said Oksana Zaharchuk, coordinator of Initiative E +.

The Czech Republic government has long been supporting Ukraine. During 2014-2015, the Czech Republic has provided assistance of more than 100 million CZK (4 mln. Euros) to Ukraine. In late September, the Czech Republic presented three ambulances and 2400 packages of medical materials to the Ukrainian Committee of the Red Cross; and in summer within the Czech Republic government program “Medevak” 10 seriously ill or seriously wounded migrants were taken for treatment to the best Czech hospitals. All of them except, 10-year-old Tanya Chornobay, have returned to Ukraine. By the end of this year 50 million CZK (2 million. Euros) will be provided for Ukraine.