Report from ICDP leadership in Ukraine

Sergey and Anna Krasin wrote in February 2023:

2022 was very difficult year for Ukraine and very difficult for ICDP Ukraine.
Trainers and facilitators found themselves working under constant stress, with many being forced to leave their homes, and some had little option but to leave the country. Nevertheless, ICDP trainers and facilitators continued conducting sessions for parents whenever it was possible for them to do so.

A new challenge for us was the need to support parents who experienced traumatic situations with serious emotional consequences. At the same time, the facilitators had to cope with traumas they themselves lived through.

On 23-24th of July, together with the Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation (ICDP USA) we conducted a shared Ukrainian-American conference called “Practical aspects of providing psycho-social support to parents and children using ICDP methods: the experience of America and Ukraine”
More than 70 participants took part in master classes prepared by specialists from America and Ukraine (Kimberly Svevo-Ciancsi, Diana McFarlin, Ksenia Kozlova, Anna Krasina, Sergey Krasin, Natalia Fedak).

In November and December, trainers Anna and Sergey Krasin conducted a training module for 30 specialists from Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) run by the Caritas Ukraine Charitable Foundation.

CFS represent a safe place where children can meet other children to play, learn to cope with the risks they must face on daily basis, participate in some educational activities and relax. They are located on the premises of Caritas in different Ukrainian cities. In addition, mobile child friendly spaces are organized in areas with large numbers of newly displaced population, including internally displaced persons, especially children in need of assistance (children in shelters, community centres, tents or in open spaces in a camp or community).

Nine participants of the training project for specialist working in CFS became facilitators.

Zotina Sofiia, who conducts parent groups in Lviv, notes that during the war, adults became more closed, it was difficult for them to open up and talk about their feelings. In groups, parents willingly share memories of their childhood and their positive parental experience.

Demkovich Zoryana, who runs groups in Zhovkva, Lviv region, says that adults attending groups have been learning to feel happy again.

Story from Zoryana: “During our meeting, some parents sincerely shared their experiences and anxieties. Such stories left everyone touched and in tears. Others also started sharing their thoughts about very personal experiences. For example, one mother told us about her lack of knowledge and skills in raising her son, which led to their misunderstanding each other. She shared that she now understood her own misconceptions, imagining that her son was the way she wanted him to be. She rarely listened to his opinion, which, as a result, led him to rebel and decreased his willingness to study.”

Elena Kubik from Nikolaev said that the parent groups are very emotional. Closed adults begin to open up and openly talk about their memories from their own childhood. They feel much better afterwards and start to change their attitude towards their children. They are very grateful for the ICDP groups and as a result they tend to offer more reliable support to their children during these difficult times.

Lesya Kupchik from Khmelnitsky notes that the war created more conflicts between children and parents. In groups, based on the ICDP principles, together they are looking for ways out of different conflicting situations.

In Kyiv, Diana Diatchenko, conducted parents’ groups and also groups for parents together with their children. She noted that at the first meetings, the parents were very constrained and did not show emotions. Then, adults became friends, and at the end, they did not want to leave. Children and adults enjoyed working together very much.

In the village of Oleksandrivka, in the Dnepropetrovsk region, Nesvitskaya Julia and Kravchenko Alena noticed that conducting parent-child and parent groups help adults look at their children differently, change their attitude towards their children and reduce conflicts in the family.

Parent groups, conducted by ICDP facilitators at the locations of the CFS Caritas of Ukraine, were visited by more than 70 parents who suffered from the war in Ukraine.

In February 2023, three face-to-face training groups for ICDP facilitators started in Dnipro, Kharkiv and Poltava.