Creating safe spaces for Ukrainian children in Moldova

By Anna Kessler | June 23, 2022 | Europe & Eurasia | Freedom from Violence & Exploitation

In response to the war in Ukraine, Moldova-based GFC partner Informal Education Center “Diversity” has shifted its focus to supporting kids and teens impacted by the war and helping them work through their trauma.

Informal Education Center “Diversity” is a Global Fund for Children partner located in Moldova that previously focused its efforts on promoting human rights and combating xenophobia through informal education methods. However, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the organization has shifted its focus to helping Ukrainian refugee children and teens work through their trauma from the war.

Children playing Twister

Children play a game of Twister outside. © Informal Education Center Diversity

Informal Education Center “Diversity” is one of more than 40 organizations that have received a grant through GFC’s Emergency Response Fund to support the amazing work they are doing to assist Ukrainians through this difficult time. Several of the organizations that have received emergency grants are based in Moldova, where more than 500,000 refugees have fled since the war in Ukraine started, according to UNHCR figures. Roughly 82,000 refugees – more than half of whom are children – have remained in Moldova, while the rest have traveled on to other countries.

In April 2022, Informal Education Center “Diversity” opened a youth center for Ukrainian kids aged 9 to 17. At the center, children use art and theater to work through their trauma all while being given the opportunity to socialize with their peers. Art supplies are provided for them. Drawing and sculpting are among the more popular mediums with the children.

Young people painting

Young people painting at the Informal Education Center Diversity youth center. © Informal Education Center Diversity

In addition to art therapy, the youth center offers more traditional therapy methods as well. Informal Education Center “Diversity” provides Ukrainian refugee children and teens with professional psychological support through both individual and group consultations. The organization also provides the children with necessary supplies they may be missing such as extra clothing, toiletries, and food.

Since opening its doors earlier this year, the youth center has already helped more than 250 kids.

Children laughing

Children join together for a group discussion at the Informal Education Center Diversity youth center. © Informal Education Center Diversity

Informal Education Center “Diversity” isn’t just positively impacting refugee children and teens with the opening of the youth center – it is helping the parents as well. The youth center is a safe place where parents can leave their children while they handle the bureaucratic aspects of being a refugee. This also allows parents who have found jobs to work without worrying about their children. Additionally, it frees up time for parents to participate in self-care after facing so much hardship.

Informal Education Center “Diversity” has stepped up to help Ukrainians in their time of need by caring for children and teens impacted by the war. Through the services the organization provides, it is able to support refugees as they begin to rebuild their lives.

Header photo: Children playing together outside. © Informal Education Center “Diversity”

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