When Ukrainian psychologist Kateryna Yavna found herself stuck in the UK because of Covid travel restrictions, she had no way of knowing that things would get worse. In normal life, she divided her time between London, UK, and Lviv in Ukraine.
Then in February 2022, Russian troops invaded Ukraine again.
Kateryna’s response was seriously practical. How to help the children who would be traumatised by their experiences of war, shelling, fleeing their homes and everything they knew?
This was not a new concern, but the threat to Ukraine’s children was even starker than before.
‘No Ukrainian has not suffered from this war’
When Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014, Kateryna was one of a group of psychologists who took a course in Teaching Recovery Techniques (TRT) to children. (That course was led by Professor William Yule, a co-founder of Children and War, who continues to be a key trainer and trustee for Children and War UK.) Kateryna went on to use TRT with people affected by the war in her country.
After the 2022 invasion, Kateryna joined Children and War UK, and now she trains professionals in TRT in the Ukrainian language. For now, she remains based in London. She supports group leaders in volunteer organisations, listening to their stories and sharing their experiences.
She says: ‘No Ukrainian has not suffered from this war…’ Whether you are a child or a grown-up, there is no safe space in Ukraine.
Manuals in Ukrainian
Kateryna’s experience has been invaluable for Children and War UK. She has updated our TRT manual and it’s now been translated it into Ukrainian. UNICEF has funded the costs of translation and printing.
She’s also translated Children and War UK’s manuals on Writing for Recovery, and traumatic grief, and she’s currently working on a TRT manual for parents.