ICDP in Ukraine

In November 2021, a group of facilitators completed their training; nine persons from Kyiv, Kharkiv, Slavyansk, Gnedin received their diplomas as ICDP facilitators. On 23rd of February 2022, just a day before the war started in Ukraine, six trainees completed their training and received diplomas as ICDP regional trainers.

When the war started most of the ICDP Ukraine facilitators temporarily suspended their work, as they were forced to leave their homes, move to other cities or travel to other countries. However, at the end of March, they began their work again.

In April 2022, a new project was started aimed at providing psychosocial support to migrants and internally displaced persons. Ten facilitators (see photo) from Kharkiv, Odesa, Kyiv, Poltava and Zaporizhzhia took part in the project with the support from SD Britain and several other national members of the Susila Dharma International Association (SDIA).

By mid May 2022, a total of 325 people attended ICDP workshops, including 263 adults and 62 children.

Some facilitators have remained in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other frontline towns and cities, continuing to support parents and families where they can, even conducting classes with children in a bomb shelter in a subway. Others who left Ukraine to go to other countries are now working with children there as well as helping parents. Some of them have been able to carry out in-person support groups, others have resorted to online training sessions. Some come from a formal psychologist background, others are teachers or social workers. They agreed between them how best to use the funds given from SDIA to distribute between the group of facilitators, basing that on how many sessions they could practically carry out over the time given. Their activities included:

– consultations with parents on how to communicate with children
– crisis counselling
– dealing with trauma
– activities with children

ICDP fits well with other forms of support and therapy, particularly in groups where parents and children can share stories and the feeling of trust and healing can grow. Several facilitators use art techniques and games to help break down barriers and gain trust. Others will talk about film and talk about heroes to engage with the children and parents. Clients hear about ICDP through seminars and learn from colleagues or friends about the ICDP work, and come seeking help. Some use social networking and newsletters to let communities know about the training sessions. As situations calm down in Ukraine, facilitators are able to work better and more consistently.

The facilitators have found that many children are distressed by the conflict around them, many express restlessness and irritability, and are being neglected by their parents because their parents are distracted and emotionally traumatized themselves.  Many families have been separated and children are often being looked after by extended family members. By using physical touch, eye contact and talking and listening with love and engagement, they’ve helped parents reconnect with their children.  These are a few examples of testimonials (translated from Ukrainian):

“Thank you for the lessons and everything you do for the people – it is very important to have support, and you are like God’s helpers…thank you”

“I like that everything is simple and easy to communicate, although it is about serious and deep things. I like a lot of examples, videos, etc. Thank you for continuing your hard work!”

“I am very happy to take part in the programme. You treat every member so carefully. For me, as the mother of a small child, the ICDP programme is very relevant”