“The earthquake in Turkey and the war in Ukraine have been major focuses for our work, alongside training UK carers in schools and local authorities.”
Laura Timms

Training lead, Children and War UK

Major emergencies in Ukraine and Turkey were the focus of our training in 2023, with vital assistance given on the ground and online to those caring for traumatised children. We also helped UK specialists working in education, child protection, sexual assault and social work.

In Ukraine, the Russian invasion continues to ravage villages, towns and entire provinces. At least 10,600 civilians have been killed since February 2022, and the infrastructure for energy, water, food and transport has been shattered. Ten per cent of housing stock across the country – some two million homes – has been damaged or destroyed. Over 6 million Ukrainians have fled abroad, to neighbouring countries and also the UK.

During 2023 we grew the programme of training that we introduced in 2014, adding specialised sessions on helping children to cope with grief following a traumatic bereavement, and on parenting children affected by conflict. This ongoing programme is a collaboration with in-country NGOs including Family Circle Lviv, Volunteers and Helping Hands Ukraine. Meanwhile, for Ukrainian refugees we delivered psychological training to reach expatriate communities in London and Eire, and continued our links with St Mary’s Ukrainian School in London.

In Turkey, two major earthquakes struck in the middle of the night in February 2023, destroying 518,000 homes and killing 53,500 people. Two million people were evacuated out of the affected areas and 1.5 million were left homeless. Children in such situations face the devastating effects of losing their homes and loved ones, restarting their lives in new and unfamiliar places, and recovering from their own injuries both physical and mental.

Within the first weeks we had reached out to the authorities in affected areas. Together we produced a Turkish-language version of our key training manuals, and an initial workforce were trained to disseminate our techniques to children’s groups on the ground. This included trauma recovery as well as training in traumatic bereavement.

For UK children, we ran a range of trainings according to need. A local authority asked us to provide training for their educational staff who support schoolchildren. The children’s services division of another local authority requested trauma recovery training for their child protection staff and social workers. And for a network of NHS and voluntary sector professionals, we provided training for those assisting children and young people who have survived rape and sexual assault.

As well as these activities, we held our usual Open Trainings, which are available online for any individual to attend. These attracted participants from Europe, the USA and the UK, representing a range of interests including conflict zone workers, public service providers and voluntary sector professionals.

Find out more about our training

What we do makes a difference

Now more than ever, children need help to cope with the trauma they're experiencing.

Children and War UK is working to give them essential tools to reduce the long-term effects of traumatic stress.

Thank you.