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A difficult summer of 2015: holidays for children from the conflict zone

A difficult summer of 2015: holidays for children from the conflict zone

Journalists of “Donetsk Dialogue” programme (Donbas Public TV) show the way the state helps rehabilitation of children from the ATO zone.

The playground in the park is surrounded by benches and flowerbeds. Childnren’s laughter and fuss add warmth and cosiness to the place and all the corridors of the building are full of perambulators. Boys and girls from different localities of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are living here. They have just met each other and if it had not been for the war they would have never met. There are about two hundred children here and they have a lot of fun together except for the moments when they think about their home. These kids are of differet age and it is not a problem to find friends, besides, there are a lot of things to do here: free Wi-Fi, playrooms and there are swings, sandpits and sportsgrounds outside for the most active ones.

“My town was nice, there was my home and there was my school there. We left because the war started. My Mom, my friends and me slept in the basement. When I recollect the war, I start thinking that my Dad perished”, says one of little inhabitants of the settlement.

“I want to come back home but to keep all my friends who I have found here. I also want peace and that’s all. I am living here with all my family: Mom, Dad, little brother and Grandpa”, says Larik, and internally displaced boy from the village of  Pervomayske (the Luhansk region).

According to the words of Liliya Zolkyna, head of the Family and Youth Department of Donetsk regional state administration, the regional authorities started arranging the holiday for children from the ATO zone at the beginning of the summer. 

“There are about eighteen health resorts for children in our region, about siz hundred summer school camps have nearly finished their activity now as schools are being repaired before the new academic year. There are different kinds of summer camps for children, including campsites. More than fifteen thousand children have already had a holiday on the territory of the Donetsk region including children from  internally displaced families.”, tells us the civil servant.

An Act which secures holidays for internally displaced children and children whose relatives take part in the Anti-Terrorist Operation means that all of them can have a rest free of charge. Zolkina says that regional civil servants try to send as many children as they can to different reports, in the Donetsk region and outside it. “The Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine and the Governor of our region addressed the local authorities asking them to help arrange holidays for as many children as possible. The first group was sent to the Volyn region where the local administration arranged a free holiday for them.  Now, we are preparing a group of children for a rest at a resort in the Cherkassy region”, says the civil servant. 

“The Ministry of Social Policy and charity funds signed contracts which will allow Ukraine to send children abroad. Now, we are sending a group of children who live in foster families to Switzerlandand, and in October we are going to send a group of kids to Slovakia. We have a chance to help a lot of children”, continues Liliya Zolkyna.

Children psychologists have a lot of work as well. Kids who witnessed shellings need special attention.
“Last year our psychologists started working at resorts for children and this year they continue and it is especially important now because we have very difficult kids this year. They come from Dzerzhynsk, Avdiivka, Maryinka and Yasynuvata districts and all those places were shelled. “Caritas” (international charity fund)  has launched a special programme for internally displaced kids in “Solnechny” (“Sunny”) health resort for children which is situated in Svyatohirsk. Children spend the day there,  they communicate with psycholigists and specialists and then go home in the evening. It is very convenient for their parents as they are afraid to let their kids go far without adults’ supervision. Parents of children who are entitled to concessions can address special departments of local adminstrations and executive commettes and there they will be told how to send their child to such a resort”, says Liliya Zolkyna.

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