Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees

by Peace Winds Japan
Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees
Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees
Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees
Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees
Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees
Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees
Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees
Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees
Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees
Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees
Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees
Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees
Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees
Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees
Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees
Emergency Support for Ukrainian Refugees

Project Report | Dec 12, 2023
Psychological Support for Traumatized Ukrainians

By Robert Gilhooly | Programme coordinator

Christina with other IDP children
Christina with other IDP children

More than 20 months have passed since Russia invaded Ukraine, and recent weeks have seen an escalation of attacks by the Russian military (RM), including on the capital, Kyiv, in late November.

Nevertheless, amid the protracted conflict, Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) continues to provide comprehensive humanitarian support to people who have been evacuated from their homes in the war-affected areas of Ukraine. Among those activities, PWJ is working with local Ukrainian NGO Right to Protection (R2P) to provide essential supplies and services in war-torn regions of central and western Ukraine that have been severely impacted by the Russian invasion. 

The project aims to provide internally displaced persons (IDPs) evacuated to the three oblasts of Lviv, Vinnytsia and Chernovtsi with food, hygiene and other supplies and services. Those services include mental health and psycho-social support (MHPSS), legal assistance, and social support, which is also being offered to the staff at shelters and welfare facilities in the host communities.

The three regions have a high proportion of IDPs, many of whom have been traumatized by the horrors of war they have witnessed. Some have been subjected to mental and physical torture and violence at the hands of the RM.

R2P has a long history of protection activities for such individuals in Ukraine, and one of the NGO’s chief activities in this project is the deployment of mobile teams of experts in the psychosocial, legal and social work fields. Such a mobile system is particularly effective and invaluable in more remote areas, where access to hospitals and other medical services is limited and/or interrupted by the ongoing conflict. The team's experts are providing support to IDPs who are staying in shelters, or living with family members or acquaintances.

One of the people encountered in Vinnytsia was 10-year-old Christina, who had been relocated there from the southern city of Mariupol, the scene of some of the most intense fighting to date. Christina had experienced some terrifying moments, taking shelter in the basement of her home while the sounds of explosions boomed around her. With the situation becoming increasingly perilous she fled with her family to Vinnytsia in March this year.

In the beginning, Christina found it difficult to adapt to the unfamiliar surroundings, but with time she found solace in the activities organized by the R2P mobile team. These included art therapy sessions, where she was encouraged to make models and draw pictures. Through these activities, Christina rediscovered the joy of creativity, which gradually led to a sense of happiness in her new life.

What particularly captivated Christina among the activities she tried was the Japanese craft of origami paper folding. When she spoke with one psychotherapist from R2P, Christina shared her future dream saying, “I want to open a classroom to teach origami to children.”

R2P’s legal experts have also been able to lend a variety of support for IDPs. One beneficiary is Mykolai, who also fled from Mariupol to Vinnytsia after his apartment was destroyed by shelling, leaving him buried beneath the rubble for three days. He has no memory of who rescued him, but subsequently found himself in a Russia-occupied area, where he was subjected to violence at the hands of the occupying forces. As a result, Mykolai had a stroke and suffered physical disabilities.

Among the many personal belongings he lost along the way was his pension certificate. This made it difficult for Mykolai not only to receive the medical treatment he desperately needed, but also to get by in his day-to-day life. R2P’s mobile team was able to help him obtain a replacement pension certificate, and then collaborated with medical institutions and other organizations to help him obtain a stroller, as his physical disabilities were making it difficult for him to walk.

Christina and Mykolai are just two of many war-affected Ukrainians who have benefitted from this project, which has been made possible with financial support from you. But the challenging situations faced by the people of Ukraine persist. We appreciate your continuous support.

IDP children during art therapy class in Vinnytsia
IDP children during art therapy class in Vinnytsia
Christina with R2P psychotherapist Olena
Christina with R2P psychotherapist Olena
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Organization Information

Peace Winds Japan

Location: Jinsekikogen-cho, Hiroshima Prefecture - Japan
Website:
Project Leader:
Hiroshi Kunita
Jinsekikogen-cho , Hiroshima Prefecture Japan

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