Civil activists initiate second rehabilitation program for children of fallen Ukraine defenders

A social initiative learns from its American counterparts how to organize rehabilitation for children who suffered an armed conflict and take children aged 8-16 for a weekly physical and psychological treatment.

Kyiv, October 19, 2016. On October 22, forty-five children of fallen Ukraine defenders will go to the sanatorium “Chervona Kalyna” to undergo psychological and physical rehabilitation during the autumn break. This is the second program of a kind organized by the charity civil union “Future Generation”. This was reported by Larysa Kadurina, director of “Future Generation” program, charity civil union “Future Generation”, at a briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

The program was set up a year ago in the United States. The “Future Generation” project was initiated by Mykhailo Kazarenko. He heads a nonprofit charity organization – Social Development Institute. The Institute and other American civil organizations, including Right Sector supporters in the United States, helped to raise funds for the program. Ukrzaliznytsia will provide free tickets for children participating in the program.

Psychological disorders of children who have lost parents

According to Larysa Kadurina, children who have lost their parents live in a state of anguish and resentment toward society and the state. In the future they may grow into psychologically ill adults. Similar programs have been developed in the US after the Vietnam War and were taken as a basis for the Ukrainian program. Then the government realized that the children who had lost their parents desperately need support.

“We would like our government to acknowledge the problem as it will not disappear – it will live on quietly,” she emphasized.

How rehabilitation developed

During the selection of participants, volunteers informed the public through the media and social networks, kept in touch with all the organizations and agencies that deal with veterans, and involved administrations. Children from all regions of Ukraine participated in the program.

According to the organizers, the need for such programs is growing. “This time we lowered the age limit, and we admitted children starting from 8 years old. Last year, the program involved children from 10 to 16 years old,” added Larysa Kadurina.

Most children had phobic disorders. They were scared, did not know how to behave. The doctors in the sanatorium “Chervona Kalyna” examined children and prescribed individual treatments. In the morning children received various medical treatments and in the afternoon there were different events involving psychologists. The organizers developed an intense educational and entertainment program for children.

Olga Protasova, director of psychological service, “Future Generation” program, said that after the first trip they had noticed positive changes in children and mothers, the children’s state had improved significantly.

After the program, volunteers keep in touch with families, pass parcels with aid provided by American volunteers.

How the government promotes such initiatives

Volunteers pin their hopes on the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine and other involved establishments. Volunteers provided the Ministry with the program description. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Social Policy has not supported the initiative yet, and the dialogue is rather difficult and slow. According to volunteers, the Ukrainian media disseminate information that millions of hryvnias are allocated on similar goals but the money is used inappropriately and somettimes embezzled.

Anatoliy Svyryd, head of the NGO “Hearts of Cyborgs”, stressed, “Given that we have thousands of victims, there is a lot of work to do, and unfortunately, we do not see it”.