President of Ukraine

Second session in Gen.Camp rehabilitation children's camp of Gen.Ukrainian public initiative under patronage of Olena Zelenska starts

10 December 2022 - 19:46

Second session in Gen.Camp rehabilitation children's camp of Gen.Ukrainian public initiative under patronage of Olena Zelenska starts

The second session at the Gen.Camp children's rehabilitation camp in Spain has started. The founder of the camp is the Gen.Ukrainian non-governmental organization, which work is aimed at treating children's psychological trauma caused by Russia's war in Ukraine and minimizing their consequences in the future. Gen.Ukrainian unites private individuals and patrons. Assistance to children is provided on the initiative and at the expense of Ukrainian benefactors. The project is implemented under the patronage of First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska.

This time, 31 children aged six to 11 from Kyiv and Chernihiv regions, Mariupol, Kharkiv, and Bakhmut will undergo rehabilitation at Gen.Camp. All these children witnessed war crimes.

Ninety percent of children are those who have experienced the loss of one or two adults. Half of them witnessed the death of their parents or were present at the execution, stayed in a car that was shot.

In particular, Andriy from Chernihiv region went to the camp. During the evacuation, his family's car was crushed by an armored personnel carrier. The boy survived – he was pulled out of the car unconscious, and his parents and other relatives were burned to death. Bohdan from Bakhmut – the Russians killed his father and pregnant mother – and Marharita from Mariupol, who survived the rubble of the house where all her relatives died, will also undergo rehabilitation.

Ten percent of the group is children held captive in a basement in the village of Yahidne, Chernihiv region. They slept standing up, starved, and survived the abuse of the occupiers.

"It's painful to even retell this. These are not only tragedies – they are stories of deliberate torture of our children. What are they feeling now? How do they survive this experience? That is why, at the end of November, the second session started in the Gen. Сamp educational and psychological camp. Children who witnessed terrible war crimes, whose parents were killed in front of them, who miraculously survived during an evacuation attempt or under missile attacks, receive psychological help from leading psychotherapists, teachers and tutors," Zelenska said.

The author of the idea of the camp is entrepreneur and public figure Oksana Lebedeva, the chief psychologist of the project is Oksana Shlonska, Ph.D. in Psychology, psychologist, psychotherapist with more than 30 years of experience, head of the Rivnovaha center in Kyiv.

If during the first session in Gen.Camp, Ukrainian psychologists integrated global practices for the rehabilitation of children and their own developments into the program, then during the second session, specialists work according to a program created by a Ukrainian author. It is called "Protected by Love" and it is based on protocols. It was prepared by Oksana Shlonska. It combines two directions of world psychotherapy: cognitive-behavioral therapy and catathymic-imaginative psychotherapy.

Five psychologists of the highest category, including the chief psychologist of the project, five tutors, two social educators, who accompany orphans, work in the Gen.Camp camp. The therapeutic program lasts 21 days.

The objective of Gen.Ukrainian is to help children overcome war trauma and their acute manifestations, learn to live in a new reality and grow up healthy and strong. The organization also helps parents and guardians of young Ukrainians conducting educational workshops. Competent psychotherapists of Gen.Ukrainian teach how to recognize signs of mental disorders in a child's behavior, what to deal with it, how to offer help to the child and yourself.

"The first session of the camp was unexpected for the specialists themselves: the children began to smile, dream, and live. It turned out that the child's psyche can withstand the hardest tests if the proper therapy and timely help are provided," the First Lady said.

After the rehabilitation of children in the camps, the Gen.Ukrainian non-governmental organization will update the existing and develop original programs for the treatment of children's psychological trauma, based on the protocol of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, and will hand them over to the Ministry of Health for further treatment of children who faced the horrors of war.

"All these months of the Russian attacks, Ukrainians are gaining experience that the European world of the 21st century does not know. No one was prepared for modern barbarism. And first of all – children because parents raised them for love and happiness, not for torture. So our task now is to restore their faith in love and happiness, as their parents wanted. And we can already see that we have success," Zelenska said.