In early December the international charitable organization Parimatch Foundation organized a 3-week vacation in the Artek International Center for 50 children aged 8 to 14 years from the Kherson region. All of them are in dire need of special social attention and support. Children continue their studies, undergo rehabilitation, have active sports leisure, fruitfully communicate with psychologists, and attend cultural and creative studios.
More than 250 children from different parts of Ukraine are staying in Artek. They are divided into age groups. Each group has a mentor who coordinates and supports the children. The camp program is very rich. Artek children are actively engaged in sports with coaches. In addition, they have systematic online learning, and hobby groups: music, singing, dancing, and drawing, where they reproduce the pictures of Maria Pryimachenko and much more. The camp’s daily schedule includes a therapeutic arthro-painting by Victoria Nazarevych to overcome stressful situations, as well as a Ukrainian collection of children’s audio tales with a therapeutic effect «Secret stories of small and big victories». Both projects were initiated and launched jointly with the Parimatch Foundation as a part of its Mental Health program during a full-scale invasion.
Every day, camp psychologists conduct group work with children to overcome fears, stress, and aggression. An important component of the camp is mental health restoring direction, which helps children get rid of anxiety caused by the war.
Kherson region continues to suffer massive attacks from the russian aggressor. Some children stay in the temporarily occupied territory, and some are in Ukraine-controlled territory. During wartime, children can’t have good recreation or even normal conditions with heat and electricity. Therefore, the Parimatch Foundation continues to assist in areas related to the health, and education of the future generation as a part of the Help to Ukraine program.
Representatives of the Foundation visited the Artek children to learn about their impressions of the rest, and to communicate with coaches and teachers. In addition, they initiated an open archery training for children with XXVII Summer Olympic Games silver medalist, European champion and champion of Ukraine, and Sports Mentor program coach Kateryna Dubrovina.
Unfortunately, children couldn’t take part in a series of master classes, attend psychological rehabilitation training, cook porridge on the open fire, and watch the presentation of the cultural and educational project «100 Victories of Ukraine with the eyes of Artek children» due to the massive missile attack. All the children were kept in safe places and had the opportunity to talk to Kateryna Dubrovina.
To support active recreation and sports leisure, Parimatch Foundation presented Artek children with three sets of sports equipment, which includes footballs, basketballs, volleyball, and futsal balls, cones and bibs for training, sets for badminton, checkers, chess and darts, coordination ladders and frisbees.
In January and February 2023, the Foundation will continue to implement the Help to Ukraine program for children from other regions.
“Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the Foundation has taken responsibility to do everything possible to ensure that children who are directly affected by the war have the opportunity to recover mentally and physically. We continue to believe that sport helps to improve mental health, which is extremely important for children. Therefore, we pay a lot of attention to their psychological rehabilitation, resume sports training in safe regions, and involve children in physical activity. Today, when most of the regions remain with a limited supply of electricity, heat, and water, it is extremely important for us that it affects children as little as possible. Therefore, we provide an opportunity to get basic needs, rest, and recreation. We dream that this winter Ukrainians will feel our warmth and care, and children’s camps will become a place of stability, good mood, and recovery,” — says Angela Fokina, COO of Parimatch Foundation.
The Parimatch Foundation and the Artek International Children’s Center have partnered for the second year in a row. In 2021, the foundation implemented the Open Space program and made the stay for children with disabilities in the famous camp accessible. Some rooms were reconstructed and the buildings were equipped with ramps, which provided children with the most important experience of independence without constant adult supervision and made the space barrier-free. The Foundation provided special showers and washbasins, wheelchair-friendly linoleum and tiles, special beds with orthopedic mattresses, multifunctional bedside tables, special equipment for classes in the cultural and artistic center, and two more lightweight wheelchairs that can be easily folded.
It is to be recalled that this summer Parimatch Foundation organized health camps in Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Cyprus for children affected by the war. So, 380 little Ukrainians have already had physical and mental rest thanks to the new initiative. Because the camp is about diverse leisure, bright emotions, communication with peers, and healthy everyday life.