Helping Traumatized Children

Sadly, the war in Ukraine has created thousands of orphans. Some tragically witnessed one or both of their parent’s death. That’s why we’re partnering with a Ukrainian NGO called Children of Heroes, to provide therapies for 8,000+ children who need help processing their loss and finding hope for the future. There’s a huge backlog of children needing therapy, and we want to help eliminate it. Thanks to our partner Diamondback Energy for sponsoring this critical work.

Children of Heroes was profiled in a New York Times story this summer called “What is War to a Grieving Child?” (Pictured above 16-year-old Vlad at one of the group’s trauma therapy camps.)

The therapies provided will help children like Amelia (age 2)–top photo, Anhelina (14) and Diana (16) who along with their mother lived in Novohrad-Volynskyi in the north of Ukraine while their father defended the sovereignty of Ukraine on the battlefield. During combat near Bakhmut, in the eastern Donbas region, he died tragically at the hands of the Russian invaders. His three daughters miss their father immensely. Amelia, the youngest, constantly asks about when her dad is coming back and waits daily for him to come home to hug her.

Other therapy programs we’re supporting are working with Ukrainian children evacuated to the five shelters we’ve helped fund in Romania for orphans at risk of kidnapping, war crimes, and life-threatening bombings in their home cities of Bakhmut, Odesa, Kherson, and others that are under constant attack.

So many children have had horrifying experiences that one of the centers is dedicated entirely to trauma recovery. One of the most heartbreaking stories is of a 13-year-old girl who came from Bucha. Alone at home when Russian soldiers invaded her town, she was interrogated mercilessly. A soldier put a grenade in her shirt to induce her to reveal the location of her parents. The experience left her traumatized, and when she arrived, she hadn’t spoken in weeks.

But with the loving care and trauma healing at the center she began speaking and joining in activities with other children, eventually becoming a helper and leader. She has now returned to Ukraine and will receive ongoing support.

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