Ukraine Emergency | Ukrainian children at school with candles

Bombings leave the population without power, heating and water. Temperatures drop below zero, schools remain closed, and people begin to deal with the psychological impact of a nine-month-long war. Stories from Kharkiv, this time by candlelight with the children in a suburban school.

Countries Ukraine
Date 06.12.2022
Author from Kharkiv Aldo Gianfrate - AVSI communication officer

In Ukraine, the consequences of the war are getting worse. The weather gets colder and the bombings haven't stopped. In late November, we went there to show you how the population is coping. And what we are doing to help.

In this episode Aldo Gianfrate talks about the impact of the war on Ukrainian children, the fear that undermined their trust in others. With the educators of a school in Vysoky, in Kharkiv suburbs, AVSI tries to preserve the activities, despite the fear and the continuous blackouts.

Children with candles

"Today there is no electricity and we are doing activities using candles", says Marianna, a psychologist and educator at a school in Vysoky, a suburban neighbourhood south of Kharkiv, which now welcomes who has run away from the northern areas.

"In the morning only distance teaching is done. In the afternoon we meet to do group recreational activities. In winter it gets dark already at four but we can't stop", she explains as she lets us enter one of the classes where children are drawing in the dim light. “One of the most visible consequences on children is the total loss of trust in their peers and in people in general. They are afraid of any interaction, and the cognitive level of some of them seems to have regressed. It is as if the trauma had paralyzed them, while waiting for the next danger”.

Downstairs, AVSI has organized a distribution of school supplies. At the end of the activities, children line up with their parents, fill out a form with the help of the phone's flashlight and receive a schoolbag full of notebooks, pens and crayons.

One of them comes up and gives us his job. Two houses drawn in the colors of Ukraine. "Dom?", we ask. He says yes.