Thanks to the cooperation of Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA) and its local partner organisation, NGO ’Centre for Equal Opportunities’, new play areas have been added to 7 institutions supporting internally displaced people in the Ukrainian region of Ivano-Frankivsk. The child-friendly spaces set up in four community shelters and three medical clinics are designed to host various programmes and games also of psychotherapeutical nature for the displaced kids who had to experience the horrors of war. With the new play areas internally displaced children – who in most cases had to leave everything, including their favourite toys at home when they fled – can now gain some respite from the terrible experiences they’ve lived through and bring back the joys of childhood.
One of the main goals of Hungarian Interchurch Aid’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is to help the internally displaced people who have fled to the relatively safer regions of Western Ukraine. Although before the war the NGO ‘Centre for Equal Opportunities’ focused on youth work and gender equality, since February all their efforts have been channelled to alleviate the suffering of women and children who had to endure the hardships caused by the war in Ukraine.
The seven play areas were funded by HIA’s Flexible Small Grants programme, a financial instrument aimed at assisting organisations, communities and congregations working with internally displaced people, refugees and those who are deprived by war. Believing in the power of community, HIA introduced these grants for organisations who are involved in the humanitarian response in Ukraine, but have limited means to do their job. As a result of this cooperation, more than 1,500 children who have fled the war zones of Ukraine have been given the chance to feel the joys of childhood again, even if only for a short time.