Giving joy in war

Under the most difficult conditions, DACHSER and terre des hommes are committed to helping children, young people and their parents in Ukraine overcome trauma.

Child psychologist Kateryna wants to make the war forgotten for a while and help children in Ukraine in the long run to cope with their traumatic experiences.

Kateryna is there to distract and to give the children some fun and joy through play. She wants to make the war forgotten for a while and help the children in the long run to cope with their traumatic experiences. Kateryna is a child psychologist and trauma therapist. The photos show her work with children evacuated from the east and south of the country – from Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya, Kherson. Play and movement together are central to the group sessions. She uses musical instruments, whistles and drums, as well as balloons, plasticine, balance exercises and jumps – all with the goal of emotional stabilization. The therapies are sometimes carried out at great risk, because there are often battles going on in the immediate vicinity at the same time. This is also the case in Kateryna's location – the town of Kryvyi Rih, where there were attacks on infrastructure, energy supplies, civilian facilities and even schools.

She is part of a team of 20 therapists from Ukraine, Belarus, Germany and the Netherlands that provides psychosocial support services to treat acute trauma and stress reactions triggered by war and violence. Over the past five months, the team has provided more than 650 hours of individual therapy, 150 hours of group therapy, and 30 online and offline training sessions. The therapists place great emphasis on sharing knowledge locally to ensure the sustainability of the interventions. The demand is high in many places, so that the locations are often changed. At the same time, the situation in Ukraine is volatile, and needs also change. Terre des hommes continuously adapts the activities of the project in consultation with the local project partner "Vostok SOS" so that people can be helped in the best possible way.

Humanitarian aid under difficult conditions

More than 14.7 million people have already had to flee the war in Ukraine; of these, around 8 million are internally displaced persons. Families in particular are experiencing severe stress as a result of war, violence and flight: they have had to leave their homes, seek shelter elsewhere and often experience violence. In addition, families are often separated from one another in the process. War thus leads to a complete change of environment, the loss of related persons and the loss of security and safety. In this extreme situation, there is a lack of psychosocial and therapeutic services that would be urgently needed for processing the traumatic experiences. DACHSER has been involved in Ukraine together with the children's relief organization terre des hommes since August 2022.

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