The war in Ukraine has led to a mass exodus of Ukrainian people, particularly women and children, seeking safety in nearby countries.
While they may have left the daily sights and sounds of the conflict behind in Ukraine, the continuing impact on the mental wellbeing of these children is significant.
In Estonia, as in several other European host countries, Children and War UK is working with partner organisations, to ensure that children from Ukraine get the support they need.
As ever, the plan is to deliver training in TRT (Teaching Recovery Techniques for children). The people we train can work with groups of children, and they can also go on to train other people in TRT. This ever-growing network of responsible adults with TRT skills will be able to reach significant numbers of children who need help.
No time to lose
Days after the Russian invasion began on 24 February 2022, Children and War UK and our Norwegian colleagues at Children and War Foundation partnered with Estonia’s Laste ja Noorte Kriisiprogramm, led by Maire Riis.
In July 2022, Children and War UK’s trainer Laura Timms and Richard Meiser-Stedman (professor of clinical psychology at Norwich Medical School) ran a multi-lingual workshop with a group of Estonian and Ukrainian psychologists. It was quite a challenge – with interpreters translating into Russian, materials in Ukrainian and English, and small group exercises in Estonian / Ukrainian / Russian… and feedback in English.
Of course, this sort of programme doesn’t happen without financial support. Estonians responded generously to a charity concert ‘Maailm, mis jääb meile’ (The World that Remains for Us) on 23 April 2022, to raise money for Laste ja Noorte.
Thanks to their donations, Laste ja Noorte is now running TRT groups in cities across Estonia. This programme aims to reduce the long-term psychological impact of traumatic events on Ukrainian children, to increase their chances of good mental health and future wellbeing.