Psychological help for displaced children in Dnepropetrovsk - one and a half year after moving from the area of the ATO
During the period from August till November 2015 with the financial support of the "Program of Development cooperation and democracy promotion of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania"the Charitable Foundation "Pomogaem" was providing psychological assistance to displaced children in the Dnepropetrovsk region. Total by project activities there has been covered 640 children of displaced people, living in different cities of Dnepropetrovsk region.
In September, in Dnepropetrovsk there was outdoor event "Children's Town" with art therapy, clown therapy, games and joint activities between children of displaced persons and local children. On the holiday children of displaces persons and their families could feel themselves as part of the city Dnepropetrovsk. Together with local children at the outdoor festival in the Lenin’s square near the Regional State Administration, they played, participated in master classes, had fun with clowns and got prizes for winning in comic and serious mini-competitions. The total number of participants was 273 persons.
Within the 4 months the Foundation "Pomogaem" had 6 outside events in Dnepropetrovsk region with the participation of psychologists, art therapists and clowns. Psychologists and social workers carried out diagnostics of psychological state and needs of children, and their parents were given recommendations about improving of the psycho-emotional state of the children. In case of need, there were carried out individual and group work of psychologists in order to stabilize the psychological state of the child.
Total number of children: 279 persons
Cities and numbers of events: Verhnedneprovsk (1), Dnepropetrovsk (2), Dneprodzerzhinsk (1), Nikopol (1) Sinelnikovo (1).
Why did we choose these cities: there are the largest number of displaced persons and in particular children. We wanted to cover more children, but, unfortunately, it requires a lot of resources.
Photos from the event:
Within the project there also conducted group and individual diagnostics of psycho-emotional state of the children of displaced persons. The total number of children who have been diagnosed: 88. From that number group work covered 54 children (8 group activities of diagnostics), and individual work covered 34 children (36 activities of individual diagnosis). Experts additionally worked individually with children and parents who need psychological help .
Based on the project results there has been prepared training manual "Practical recommendations. The way the whole family can cope with stress”. "It will be useful not only for displaced persons, but for all families who are in crisis or stressful situation - children with the disease, the loss of a loved one, the loss of homes, etc The brochure describes the concept of post-traumatic stress disorder, its symptoms are indicated for children of different ages, as well as there are described simple techniques of self-help that parents can use to help themselves, children and adults in the family.
Brochure (20 pages) is available in electronic form on the website of the Foundation "Pomogaem» pomogaem.com.ua (download link).
Oksana Don, a psychologist of the project, says:
«Children in the first place broadcast state of the parents. They as a rule say what they hear in the family, they behave as they are taught by the family. Therefore it is important for parents to surround the child with positive and could stay themselves in a positive state of mind. However, when the family has financial and social difficulties, it is clear that not everyone could succeed in that. Therefore, children complain of the material problems, as if they are responsible for it. In addition, if the family is experiencing any problems or stress, and the parents do not discuss it with their child, do not try to explain calmly the cause of the difficulties and what is the most important – the way they as whole family are planning to overcome the difficulties - then the child often begins to blame himself as the cause of these problems. For example, we have moved, because parents were afraid for my life, or we do not have money, because I have to spend a lot. That cannot happen. Therefore it is very important for parents to speak about stressful situations and their causes. "
Marianna Lapina, a psychologist of the project, says:
«It was very interesting to see how much the children are politicized. They are very passionate and even aggressive while discussing political leaders, party politics. At the same time they strongly believe that their life is directly dependent on the decisions of a political leader.
It can also be noted that displaced people who had decide to stay here are adapted easier to the new society than those families who want to come back as soon as the situation would be stabilized , "living on suitcases." Such people are reluctantly establishing new contacts, are closed, do not try to find a permanent job. This is reflected on children - these children have more problems in adapting inside the school community. And in general, we can say that, unfortunately, many children in school are not accepted and are miscalled. Again, because the local children are politicized too."
Statistics of children of displaced persons among the Dnipropetrovsk region:
The number of children of displaced persons registered in the region is growing. The state on 10.08.2015 the number of children of displaces people was registered among the region 15 855, on 12.10.2015 - 15962 children, on 30.11.2015 the number has reached 16188 children.
In general, we can say that after one and half year after the relocation, the dynamics of the psycho-emotional state of the children of displaced persons is positive only in those cases when psychologist is working with children and parents. Psychological assistance can be obtained from school psychologists, also such assistance is provided by various public and charitable organizations.
«Unfortunately, not always there is opportunity to provide psychological assistance to those who need it, but we're trying to find the opportunity, in particular, this project was implemented due to the support of the Embassy of Lithuania», -says Oksana Kulik, head of the program "Family" of the Charity Foundation "Pomogaem."
To get the psychological help displaced people can contact the Foundation "Pomogaem" by phone. 732 48 07, website http://pomogaem.com.ua/