Meet Misha and Anna
In our Kharkiv children’s centre, everyone knows 5-year-old Misha. “I’m not scared by the bombs,” Misha tells us. “Not scared at all.” His mother tells a different story. Misha used to hide under the table at the sound of the frequent air-raid alarms. Once, their home was hit, it was a miracle they were unharmed. The house was damaged, and the roof burned down. “But we will rebuild it,” says Anna, “the main thing is that everyone in my family is alive and well.”
Misha’s father is away on the frontline, in a town where the figthing is fiercest. He sees his son for just one or two days a month.
Anna says the explosions do not frighten her son as much as the fear of losing his father. “He is constantly asking me, “Will they kill him? Will he die?”
“When my husband was called up for service, Misha hid under the table and said that he would not talk to anyone except his dad.” However, when he began to visit the children’s centre, Depaul’s psychologists were able to find the right approach for him. Misha became more open, communicating with other children, playing, doing sports, and studying, helping alleviate his anxiety and sadness.
Anna shares just how difficult life is for children:
“This is a time when they have to grow up so quickly. They have to understand things that a kid should not have to understand.”
But she’s also noticed the difference Depaul’s children’s centres have made. “The children were hiding in basements for a long time. School education is online. Children do not communicate with their peers. Depaul has created a safe space where they learn and play games. Now they are happy and support each other. Here in the centre, they are given chance for development, communication, and socialisation. It is necessary to open more centres like that, the need for this is huge.”
Please consider a donation to our Ukraine Appeal to help children like Misha.