These are the moments when we don't have to think about reality, says Oxana - SOS Ukraine supports leisure centres for refugees in Moldova

Published: Oct 7, 2022 Reading time: 2 minutes
These are the moments when we don't have to think about reality, says Oxana - SOS Ukraine supports leisure centres for refugees in Moldova
© Tereza Hronova

Moldova is one of the smallest countries in Europe, yet more than 600,000 refugees have passed through its territory since the start of the war in Ukraine. Some 90, 000 remain there. In addition to material assistance, these people need psychological support and leisure activities for dispersal. For this reason, thanks to the money provided by PIN’s SOS Ukraine Emergency Appeal, the non-profit organisation Luceafărul Sudic can organise art courses for the refugees.

How would you fill your free time if you found yourself in a foreign country? If you had left your friends, your home and your belongings hundreds of kilometres away and only had a few pieces of hand luggage with you. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 7.5 million people have already left Ukraine, mostly women with children and the elderly, and find themselves in a situation just like this.

In the city of Cahul in southern Moldova, the organisation Luceafărul Sudic provides art classes for children. They use the lessons in painting, drawing or even quilling (paper filigree) to give them space so they can develop their imagination and creativity and perhaps try something new. "Back home in Ukraine, my daughter and I didn't do anything like this. But here we needed to fill our free time somehow, so we came here to the creative centre. My daughter really enjoys drawing, she is creative and is learning new techniques and styles," says Oxana from Ukraine about her experience with the painting classes.

"When we applied for the project, there were about 1,500 refugees, 50-60% of them were children for whom we needed to come up with some extra-curricular activities. Within Luceafărul creative centre, another space for refugee children has been created," says Agnesa Grecova, the organisation's director.

SOS Ukraine helps beyond the borders

In the creative centre, children and their parents can relax, use their free time creatively and not think about the war or about what is happening around them for a while. Among other things, the courses provide space to think and express their own emotions, which is important for supporting mental health. "We had the space but lacked the equipment. So, we asked for support to set up the centre, we needed school supplies, whiteboards, a projector, and toys," Agnesa says. In order to make the centre fully functional and serve as a safe place for children to spend their free time, People in Need provided the necessary equipment and provides monetary aid from the SOS Ukraine Emergency Appeal.

Author: Karolina Sugarova

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