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Enhancement of psychosocial wellbeing of children from Ukraine

01.04.2015

In 2015, ITF in cooperation with Red Cross Slovenia continues with implementation of the project for enhancement of psychosocial wellbeing of Ukrainian children affected by political violence, instability and armed conflict in the country. The project is funded by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia.

Between November 2013 and February 2014 Ukraine witnessed violent anti-governmental demonstrations that resulted in a death toll of 100 persons and couple of hundreds wounded, according to available information. Mass demonstrations resulted in change of the Ukraine government followed by further escalating tensions and outbreak of armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine. The number of wounded, displaced and otherwise affected victims of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine is growing by the day.

Since the beginning of the conflict in the east of Ukraine in April 2014, violence continues to disrupt peace and stability, especially among the population residing in the eastern parts of Ukraine. Following a failed attempt to reach a lasting cease-fire in Minsk in September 2014, hostilities resumed and led to the »Minsk II« cease-fire agreement that was signed  in mid February 2015. In spite of the attempts to provide a peaceful resolution to the conflict, hostilities continue to pose an immediate threat to human security, endangering lives of civilian population. Humanitarian situation is dire with many people struggling to satisfy the basic needs and with government struggling to provide medical assistance. At least 5,793 persons including 63 children have so far lost their lives, 15,595 persons including 169 children have been wounded in east of Ukraine and thousands fled to central Ukraine.

Political violence, instability and armed conflict is gravely affecting the most vulnerable – children. The collapsing protection mechanisms are negatively impacting child`s development especially his mental health and psychosocial well being. In order to address the needs of children affected by conflict in Ukraine, ITF continues with implementation of project for enhancement of their psychosocial well-being that was initiated last year. 40 children, aged between 6 and 17, which have been affected by violent events or have tragically lost a close relative, were involved in a psychosocial rehabilitation programme in the natural healing climate of Debeli rtič on the Slovenian coast. During their stay in period 21-30 March 2015 the children were visited and received presents from the state secretary from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia Mr Bogdan Benko, Ukraine Ambassador Mr Mykola Kyrychenko,Secretary General of Slovenian Red Cross Ms Renata Brunskole, and ITF Director, Ambassador Damjan Bergant.

The project will continue during summer vacations when a second group of 40 children from Ukraine arrives to Debeli Rtič on psychosocial rehabilitation programme.