Aliona, a Ukrainian teenager, talks about programs for young refugees

"It helps us forget what is happening at home for a few minutes"

UNICEF
Aliona is in Moldova
UNICEF Moldova
05 May 2022

"All the games and everything we do at the Tohatin Youth Center helps us forget at least for a few minutes what is happening at home in Ukraine," says Aliona a 17-year-old from Odesa, Ukraine, who fled the war and took refuge in the Republic of Moldova with her sister and mother.

 Specifically, the three women have been accommodated in the Placement Center in Bălțata commune, Criuleni district, for more than thirty days. To keep their attention away from the sad news, and to have healthier emotions, Aliona and her sister, Iulia, participated in activities organized at the TohaTEEN HUB Youth Center in Tohatin. These are part of the program for the involvement and support of refugee adolescents in Ukraine, initiated by the Information and Resource Center "Pro Bono" in partnership with Chisinau City Hall, Municipal Youth Center, with the financial support of UNICEF Moldova.

 

"We, the teenagers in Ukraine, need support. Young people go through this situation much harder than adults. Some fail to manage their emotions and often have depression. Therefore, psychological consultations and these activities are welcome."

Aliona Garmasuk, 17 years old
Aliona with her friend
UNICEF Moldova

"Apart from all the activities we do, such as games, contests, and others, I think the most important thing remains communication. As a result, some made new friends, exchanged contacts, and maintained a beautiful relationships.

Keeping up with all the news is challenging for me. So, these activities help me to focus on other things. But, then, we would only stay in houses and be very sad", says the teenager.

About 10 000 young people from Ukraine will be involved in personal development and resilience programs, sports activities, and educational games for six months. Moreover, young people benefit from information services and psychological consultations. These are organized at the Municipal Youth Centers and the TohaTEEN HUB Youth Center in Tohatin commune.

"I believe that during this period, teenagers in Ukraine need moral support than ever before. Young people go through this situation much harder than adults. Some fail to manage their emotions and often go into depression. Therefore, psychological consultations and these activities are welcome. Also, all the games and everything we do here help us to forget at least for a few minutes what is happening at home in Ukraine. In this way, we start to focus on something positive together ", says Aliona, who is convinced that such experiences contribute to developing communication skills and resilience.

 

Aliona is in the library
UNICEF Moldova

"Someone likes to paint, sing or play sports. And as for me, I think I need such projects for young people. Now, I'm at a time when I can't make a decision. However, it is essential to understand what you want. Before, I wanted to grow as fast as possible and make as much money as possible. Now, I think I want to draw attention to my personal development ", says Aliona.

In addition to recreational activities and other educational programs, UNICEF Moldova, and the Chisinau Youth Center organized a mobile team through which young refugees from Ukraine are informed about development opportunities in Moldova and the activity of the centers. Of youth. So far, the mobile team has reached the Lukoil Placement Center, the Moldexpo Refugee Center, the home of the Institute of Educational Sciences, and the "Dimitrie Cantemir" Theoretical High School. In addition, several educational institutions and other public places are to be visited. About 5 000 adolescents in Ukraine have participated in educational and entertainment programs organized at youth centers.

 

Aliona is in the sports center
UNICEF Moldova