In Ukraine, children retreat in the Kharkiv metro

What would you do to pass the time, get your bearings, and keep going despite the bombing? Through simple gestures, everyday gestures, like combing her hair, Liudmyla tries to calm her 10-year-old daughter Sonia. They rushed to make a round trip to pick up some things at home. ” It was scary tells us the young girl who clings to her mother’s arms.

Liudmyla, 41, combs the hair of her daughter Sonia, 10, in a carriage at one of Kharkiv's metro stations, which has become a haven for thousands of people across Ukraine.

« It is very difficult for us to stay here with the children », confie Liudmyla. « They want to roller blade or bike and see their friends ».
Because of the conflict, children in Kharkiv no longer go to school. Traumatized and scared, they hide in the subway without access to the outside.

To alleviate this desolate situation, to which no child should normally be exposed, volunteers, trained and supported by UNICEF, set up child-friendly spaces in subway stations in the presence of teachers and psychologists. At the same time, our teams provide materials for the lessons, including notebooks, pens and pencils, modeling clay and paint.

Yuliia is one of those volunteers. Before the conflict in Ukraine, she was a florist and worked as a teacher for ten years. Since the bombings, she has decided to devote her time to helping young people.

« Children are exposed to extreme stress: they suffer from insomnia, uncontrolled aggression and even mental disorders,” says Yuliia. “To help them manage their emotions better, we do physical and breathing exercises. We mainly try to distract them from the conflict ».

To help them deal with their emotions better, we do physical and breathing exercises for children.  We mainly try to distract them from the conflict.

« There are around 1,500 children in 29 subway stations, newborns and teenagers says Maryna, who coordinates educational activities for children at Kharkiv metro stations. ” It is thanks to UNICEF that we were able to equip the playgrounds and playgrounds with toys and materials for the children’s creative and playful activities. ».

Until now, More than 4,500 children and young people took part in activities in Kharkiv metro stations. Together with our partners, we plan to hire almost 500 additional volunteers, educators and psychologists.

UNICEF works to save children

We strive to enable young people to develop coping mechanisms to better cope with these traumatic experiences. It is our goal Support by not only meeting basic needs such as access to water, food and hygiene, but also providing psychosocial support and an opportunity to continue learning.
UNICEF Office in Ukraine strengthens the capacity of youth associations and organizations across the countryto address the impact of war on children’s mental health and to promote the psychosocial well-being of children affected by the conflict.

Children in Ukraine desperately need peace

More than six weeks of conflict have devastated millions of civilians in Ukraine, particularly those in need of protection. Nowadays, More than 4.3 million children had to leave their homes. They and millions of others desperately need security, stability and protection.

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