UNICEF brings back the joy of childhood to Balakliia, experienced 8 months of isolations
As soon as Balakliia returns under the control of Ukrainian authorities, UNICEF opened a Spilno Child Spot in the city. It is now a favorite place for local children who for over 8 months had been living without school or socializing with peers
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Balakliia in Kharkivska region was liberated in early September. Since then, parents with children every day rush to its central square to visit UNICEF's Spilno Child Spot.
Inside the tent, there are toys and colorful furniture. Three administrators meet the children and plan activities for each day.
Most local children have not attended school for a long time, but at least now they study online. That's why sometimes at the spot you can see kids working on the tasks that their teachers send them in the messenger.
Volunteer Oleksandr says that since the beginning of the war these children have not seen anyone but their parents, therefore he does his best to help them overcome their closeness and bring them closer.
The Spilno tent is equipped with generators and simple fan heaters to keep the spot working and warm.
Parents bring their children from every corner of Balakliia and its suburbs. One of the mothers admits she moved to the city from Kupyansk because "there is no bombing here" and her child is safe.
"Kids call me fairy here because I give a lot of good to them for free. I learn from them, and they learn from me. After experiencing months of horror, children may finally enjoy an everyday holiday in this tent. So do I" says Olena, senior administrator of the Spilno Child Spot.
In UNICEF's tent, children play, attend art therapy classes, draw, dance, and socialize, while their parents have the opportunity to take a psychologist's consultation. If an air alarm occurs, everyone at the spot should go to the near by bomb shelter, where they continue their activities.
"Each child is an inspiring, huge world. I always ask what they would like to do. I am a psychologist, a mother, and an entertainment centre all in one. The children had been stuck at home. Now, the Spilno spot is the only place in Balakliia that brings them joy," explains administrator Olena.