10 year old Zakhar hides under the desk every time he hears the fire alarm due to terrifying memories.

Ukrainian Child Refugees in the UK: Coping with Trauma

War-Scarred Ukrainian Children Seek Solace in the UK

The arrival of Ukrainian child refugees in the UK has brought with it a series of challenges as they try to adapt to their new lives. Many of these youngsters have been deeply traumatized by the conflict in Ukraine, and their journey towards recovery has been far from easy. Generous donations to the Mail Force Ukraine Appeal are now providing essential support to hundreds of these children in British schools, offering them a lifeline during their transition.

Creating a “Safe Place” for Coping

For these young refugees, finding ways to cope with their traumatic memories is crucial. Techniques such as “trauma management” have been introduced, where they learn to create a mental “safe place” to escape their fears. Nine-year-old Illya, one such refugee, describes it as putting his worst memories in a box and then placing the box on train tracks to be obliterated. This imaginative method provides them with a sanctuary free from fear and danger.

The Role of Bilingual Ukrainian Teachers

The Mail Force initiative, funded by a generous £1 million donation, has played a pivotal role in supporting these children. Bilingual Ukrainian teachers have been deployed to work alongside them, helping them adjust to their new environment. Despite the challenges, the scheme has been a resounding success, offering critical support to these war-scarred children.

“Screen Technique” to Manage Trauma

Ten-year-old Zakhar Gumennyy is one of the beneficiaries of this program. Having fled from Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, he was profoundly affected by his experiences. However, with the help of Mail Force translators, he has learned techniques like the “screen technique,” which allows him to manage his traumatic memories. By visualizing the bad memory and then pausing or switching off the screen in his mind, he can regain a sense of control over his emotions.

The Ongoing Struggle and the Importance of Support

For these Ukrainian children, the trauma extends beyond their personal experiences. Many have left behind fathers who stayed behind to fight or support Ukraine’s economy. This separation adds to their anxiety. With the support of programs like Mail Force, these children can find ways to cope, learn, and build new lives in the UK.

Expanding the Program Across the UK

The success of the pilot program in London has led to plans to expand it to tens of thousands of Ukrainian children across the UK. This effort is essential as it provides vital mental health support and educational assistance, allowing these young refugees to heal and reintegrate into society.

Despite the challenges they face, the resilience of these Ukrainian child refugees shines through. With ongoing support, they are on the path to recovery, slowly leaving behind the traumas of war for a brighter future in the UK.

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