STORY: SPILNO Child Spot for Ukrainian IDP’s in Lviv - UNICEF
TRT: 2 mins 19s
SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 21 October 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
As missile attacks by Russian armed forces have increasingly struck cities across Ukraine during the month of October, targeting civilian infrastructure as people are taking children to school, the need for child protection services and access to safe spaces for children has never been felt more keenly since the start of the war.
Lviv, the western Ukrainian city located some 60 kilometers from the Polish border, has become a transit point for families fleeing fighting in eastern, southern and central Ukraine. Today, there are more than 10 so called “SPILNO Child spots” supported by UNICEF in the Lviv region. They offer safe spaces for children and their families and the chance to learn, play and make new friends, after months of war.
Since the onset of the war in February 2022, several thousands families have registered in one of the biggest shelters here in Lviv, where they’ve been received by volunteer workers of the football club FC Shakhtar Donetsk. Families staying at the shelter include people who have lost everything, or whose homes are now under Russian occupation. It’s a new start and new friends for the children at the SPILNO spot.
“We do different activities with the children”, explained Yulia Repina, a SPILNO centre staff, working with the children at an integrated Child Spot located in an IDP center in Lviv. “There are sessions with psychologists every Sunday, different classes: painting, football as well. Our objective is to keep them busy because these kids are constantly in stress”,
Yulia and her colleagues are hosting around 50 to 60 children per day. For them, the “SPILNO centres” provide a safe, welcoming space to rest, play and simply be a child, at a time when their world has been abruptly turned upside down in fear and panic, and they are facing the trauma of leaving family, friends, and all what is familiar. They can benefit from psychosocial support such as art therapy from trained staff to meet their unique needs.
“Here we have children who come running from shelling. They are very stressed and we need to keep them busy with something. So that they could take change focus, calm down a bit and rest a little from all these horrors that they saw”, said Yulia Repina.
Some of the families stay here for a couple of days, others will have to stay longer as they lost their documents and need to request new ones before moving onward to other European countries or they try to find a new place to rent in Lviv. On average, the internally displaced people (IDP) stay one month. During that time, children and parents are involved in all the activities at the shelter such as cooking, cleaning, and also sewing military nets.
For Ms Repina “all the children are very cool. Every child is a part of you and this is a bit tiring because they are leaving and they are also sad about it”. She added that “they pass by, write, call us and myself - and this is really great, … but many of them are going abroad and most probably it will be somewhat calmer and safer for them there. This is good.”