“On a personal note, this mission took on a deeper meaning as we were invited to meet with collaborators and colleagues in Ukraine (and/or recently displaced) working to support their neighbors. We were profoundly moved by hearing their stories, how they were coping as their communities were being occupied, lives disrupted or worse. I was deeply affected as I got to know one family more intimately. Anastasia, her husband, Yara and their five years old son. Perhaps because their son and my grandchildren are the same age, with the same smiles, and beautiful spirits. I empathized deeply, as they shared with me the impacts of being forced to move multiple times in a month, the trauma their child is experiencing by the sounds of bombs, the disruptions of healthy routines and structures. All I know is that my life is enriched by knowing this family and their courageous struggle and it only served to strengthen my resolve to provide support.
Remember that fears, anxieties and sadness are a completely natural reaction to the experiences that you and the children have been through, and may still be going through. These reflect stress as a result of the war, and the losses that have been experienced. So far as is possible, trying to reduce stress by helping children feel loved and cared for, listening to their concerns, keeping up routines and trying to build in enjoyable activities are very important things that you can do. Courtesy of UNODC, I share a resource Caring for Children Through Conflict and Displacement to be downloaded below.”