In the picturesque city of Lviv, where the spirit of resilience and compassion thrives, we, the HOPE.UA charitable foundation, proudly launch the third edition of our rehabilitation program for children, aptly named 'Hope for Kids.' Lviv, with its rich cultural heritage and active community, provides a conducive backdrop for this life-changing initiative.
In this heartfelt endeavor, we expand the scope of our activities to encompass 30 children who are grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), hailing from various corners of Ukraine. These young souls, who have endured incredible hardships, embark on a 21-day journey towards healing under the guidance of a dedicated team of psychologists, psychiatrists, rehabilitators, and compassionate social workers.
Lviv, a city steeped in history and warmth, has welcomed these children with open arms. HOPE.UA volunteers joyously greeted them at the railway station, where they arrived after an exhausting 23-hour journey from Kamyanske in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Ten of these children have found solace in a family-type children's home under the loving care of Larisa Musiyenko.
"These are children who lost their parents not because of the war, but because their parents didn't fulfill their responsibilities. When the war started, we thought the highway was right above us. Rockets were flying over the Dnipro, everything was flying over us; there was such a noise. Now we need rehabilitation," says mother-guardian Larisa Musiyenko.
This marks the third iteration of our rehabilitation program, and this time, we have the honor of welcoming 30 children from different regions of Ukraine, each bearing the scars of war or violence. Oxana Chaban, the inspired leader of the 'Hope for Kids' project, shares that among this group, there are 11 children from Nikopol, 10 from the resilient city of Kamyanske, and another nine are the children of brave servicemen and displaced individuals from Bahmut, Kherson, and Mariupol.
"One of the challenges is the psychological trauma these children carry, which they find difficult to cope with. We, along with psychologists and psychotherapists, strive to create a safe space for them, where they understand that they are safe. This, perhaps, is the most crucial aspect," says Oxana Chaban.
The path to healing consists of several stages, as explained by Maria Skovron, a psychologist with the project. It begins with group discussions, moves into the realm of art therapy, and culminates in individual sessions with our team of psychologists and psychiatrists.
"The psychologists on-site work throughout the day. Many of the children are not initially ready to speak. In the first weeks, we can see how closed off they are, how frightened they are. They are afraid of loud noises or certain actions that we want to do. But after we start working, we can see how effective it is, how they open up, how ready they are to work," says Maria Skovron.
The program lasts for 21 days, after which the children receive ongoing support from local psychologists upon their return home.
Through the 'Hope for Kids' program, we aim to instill hope and healing in the lives of these resilient young souls, helping them rediscover the strength, resilience, and hope for a better future within themselves. Together, in the heart of Lviv, we plant the seeds of hope that will grow into a brighter future for these children and the communities they represent.