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Art therapy for children who have left their home

Illustration: #JuliaTveritina


More than half of Ukrainian children were forced to flee their hometowns as a result of the full-scale Russian invasion. Many have received traumas for the rest of their lives after shelling, difficult evacuation or the death of loved ones. In safer cities, children are helped to cope with stress by art therapy, which is carried out in orphanages, hospitals and bomb shelters.

Back in the spring, children from orphanages from Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts were evacuated to Lviv. Olena, an employee of the Mriia (Dream) educational and rehabilitation center, says that art is the next basic need after food and treatment for these children. Therefore, artists and volunteers come to the orphanages, conducting classes in painting on glass, tailoring, carpentry, pottery and making stained glass. At one of the classes, children made necklaces from clay, while Lviv craftswomen painted the products. Money from the sale of jewelry was spent on body armor for the military.

Creative activities also help children get used to having to spend a lot of time in shelters when an air raid alert sounds. In Zhytomyr, the project Art in a Bunker was launched in May, where children, together with their parents, painted the walls of the basement of their house. The design of the drawings was developed by the artist Anastasiia Sladkovska, who was inspired by the traditional Petrykivka and Samchykivka paintings. Colored walls should make it easier for children to stay in the shelter.

At the same time, the With an Angel on my Shoulder foundation takes care of children in Lviv hospitals. To support displaced children with oncology, volunteers hold art workshops. Children create talismans for themselves: they attach a pearl, bead and feather to a wooden heart, after which they dip their finger in paint and leave their imprint on amulets. Such a self-made guardian angel helps the child to survive difficult times.


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