Ukrainian children dealing with war trauma while being safe in Greece

The drawings in an Athens makeshift school reflect the story of youngsters fleeing the violence. Combat scenes, such as a bombing helicopter, burning buildings, tanks, and bodies on the ground, are juxtaposed by peace doves bearing olive branches.

This little flat in Athens serves as a school and a safe haven for scores of young Ukrainians and their moms fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine three days a week.

Teenagers write down their ideas in one room.

“We use art therapy, which is more kid-friendly. You don’t have to say anything; all you have to do is show me “Regina Nasretdinova, a Crimean psychologist, was their teacher.

According to her, the drawing that struck her the most was created by a seven-year-old kid and depicted Ukrainian forces executing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“‘Why draw Putin?’ I inquire. Why don’t you try something different?” Nasretdinova expressed herself. “Because he stole my childhood, he robbed my normal life,” he explained.

With the support of volunteers and their own cash, the school that used to offer Saturday language classes for children born in Greece to Ukrainian migrants is now straining to deal with more than 40 refugee students. The phones continue to ring.

“When I hear all these stories of how people die – from children to adults – how they saw bombs, everything,” Nasretdinova said, “it breaks my heart.”

Three of the teachers are also refugees attempting to get their lives back on track.

“It’s quite difficult. My spirit is shattered, “Yulia Maksymova, a teacher from Odessa, Greece, who is travelling with her 10-year-old daughter, stated. Her spouse, like many other males, stayed behind to help defend the territory.

“However, I’m grateful that I can assist youngsters,” she remarked.

In Europe’s fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II, almost 1.5 million children have left the Ukraine war, which Russia refers to as a special operation. Children make up a third of the 16,000 Ukrainian migrants in Greece.

Nasretdinova stated, “These youngsters are different.” “They’ve matured.”

She described them as “scared animals” at first, but they have subsequently gained confidence.

During a break, the students sipped tea and munched on goodies, filling the room with the usual boisterous laughing.

“It’s definitely the nicest school I’ve ever been to,” Kostyantyn, who fled with his mother and brother, said.

The adults wore a more solemn demeanour.

The teacher, Maksymova, made a move towards her daughter.

“I have to live for her,” she declared. “I must be content. When a mother is pleased, her child is happy.”

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