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Project “Words Help”: the more uplifting words, the more happy children

UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Ukraine in cooperation with advertising agency AdPro launched an information campaign on psychosocial support for children facing stressful situations.

The campaign aims to explain parents and caregivers how to help children who have signs of stress or witnessed traumatic events. According to the UNICEF survey carried out in January-February 2015 among children affected by conflict in the east, 37 per cent have shown signs of stress (in particular, many displayed intrusive memories), and 18 per cent have expressed concern over being unable to manage their conditions by themselves.

Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine:

“A child’s mind is very susceptible; in times of high stress children may have difficulties in coping with issues in a way even adults find difficult to understand. Worrying signs in a child’s behavior, such as anger, aggression, insomnia, may be “normal reactions in abnormal situations”. The “Words help” campaign is about helping parents and caregivers to understand how to address these situations and providing them with practical advices about how to support the children”

UNICEF together with AdPro designed a special informational resource for caregivers. The website http://wordshelp.com.ua provides a useful and interesting manual for parents, teachers and everyone else interested in working with children. In addition to other relevant information, the portal contains advicesfrom psychologists about how to identify stress in a child as well as suggestions on how to act accordingly.

Oksana Zalesska, UNICEF expert, PhD in Psychology, first President of Professional association of children’s analytical psychologists:
“Francoise Dolto, a famous pediatrician and psychoanalyst, one of authors of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, wrote: “A lot is said about a child, but people do not talk to children”. Conversation and verbalization of feelings is the best prevention of stress. If a child or his/her family faces difficulties, it is important not only to discuss them, but also to voice out their feelings. It will help receding pain and find resources for overcoming crisis. A word opens new experience, helps to better understand what is going on, allays anxiety and returns self-confidence to children and adults”.

Anyone can contribute to the campaign “Words Help”: by visiting the website and writing one’s messages and wishes to children affected by crisis. All the warm words and wishes gathered since the beginning of the campaign will turn into positive “air” that will fill thousands of small balloons to be released during celebration of the International Children’s Day on 1 June 2015 in Svyatohirsk –a town hosting many internally displaced children. The more uplifting thoughts, the more balloons children will be able to let go along with their fears.

VolodymyrKobets, creative director of AdPro:
“We in AdPro always pay attention to social initiatives – thus, we have both the desire to change the world and experience of implementation of charitable projects. However, when the idea emerged to make a big and useful campaign, we realized that we could not manage without the support of UNICEF. The idea is quite simple: to replace negative feelings by positive ones. In fact, if some adults appear to be “bad”, it is necessary to demonstrate as soon as possible that there are also “good” adults. We created a special website for it. Every visitor can contribute to the initiative and leave his/ her message with good words. All messages will be converted into some volume of “good” air, which will fill toy balloons that we will present to children. This is the case when the contribution of everyone matters, because these children are our future”.

The campaign “Words Help” was supported by presenters of “1+1” TV Channel: Marichka Padalko, Ruslan Senichkin, Anatoliy Anatolich, Liudmyla Barbir and Maryna Leonchuk. They offered kind words of support from the stories of their childhood. Also, the initiative involved the most authoritative resource for women tochka.net.

For further information, please contact:
Ninel Strelkovska, UNICEF Kyiv, +38 044 254 2439, nstrelkovska@unicef.org  

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About UNICEF:
UNICEF promotes the rights and the well-being of every child and families in Ukraine since 1997. UNICEF is a world champion in protecting the rights and interests of children. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. UNICEF programmes are funded from voluntary contributions of private persons, companies, institutions and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org.ua . Join us on Twitter, Facebook and ВКонтакте.

 

 
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