Group helps Ukrainian kids escape horror of war

This month the non-governmental organization Latvia Without Orphans (Latvija bez bāreņiem) together with volunteer families from around the country is offering seventeen more children from Ukraine the chance to visit here to try to overcome the traumas they’ve undergone in their war-torn home territories in the nation’s east.

As Antoņina Kravcune told Latvian Radio journalist Sintija Ambote Monday, the children have experienced the sight of blood, injury and death neighboring around them, some have lost their family homes. The organization is seeking more young families who could undertake the hosting of up to thirty more children from Ukraine who desperately need a break from the tragedy and devastation going on at home.

Last summer members of the Ukrainian community asked the group to take on a few visiting children requiring rehabilitation after traumatizing wartime episodes, explained Kravcune. Children from the Donetsk province came for rest and recuperation visits in August, some of them having spent weeks in basements underground while battles raged in their hometown streets.

Last week’s arrival of seventeen more children comes after last summer’s approximately sixty kids spread over three groups. As Kravcune explained:

“We invite children straight from the conflict zones, like Donetsk and Lugansk. They’re different cases, this time there are two girls whose fathers have been killed there. Another boy’s family private home was located two kilometers from the Donetsk airport, where dad had a business, but it was destroyed by shelling and they had to move to Kiev, parents looking for jobs, future hanging on a thread,” she said.

“Another girl in October was a refugee from Slovyansk whose parents’ house was hit by a shell, destroying their heating system right before winter, they had no more income. No place to shelter, no place to go, because all of Ukraine is facing serious internal refugee problems, that doesn’t create the conviction that peace is coming to this country,” she added.

The organization hopes by June to find a summer camp to accept up to twenty Ukrainian children, as well as private families that might step up to help.

Latvija bez bāreņiem maintains a Facebook page with that name and invites families that might be able to offer hosting assistance to call 27706085.

Above all, says Kravcune, hosts must realize that the kids shouldn’t be reminded in any way of the political situation at home in the conflict zone, that they are already hostages to circumstance and need to get their minds off of it, so they can be encouraged for the future when peace does return to their homeland, but for now we are together with them, said the NGO leader.

 

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