Many kinds of therapy
As we have already mentioned, The BEARR Trust is increasingly directing its efforts in Ukraine, funded by the appeal we launched in February 2022, into various kinds of therapeutic work by our Ukrainian partners. Many of them started this activity, including art and drama therapy, last year, and made a special effort for displaced and refugee children around Christmas time.
While we continue to support efforts to provide basic supplies to people who have lost their homes or have been forced to leave them, especially since the Nova Kakhovka Dam flood, we are currently focusing more than before on different kinds of therapeutic work. Last year, for example, an organisation in central Ukraine used BEARR funds to buy seeds and garden tools for displaced people living in their locality, so that they could start to produce their own food on plots made available to them. These plots are terribly important. As Drew Boyd, a Manx now living in Kyiv, posted on social media after the flood:
“Many of the victims live in little houses that they would have built and decorated over several years often with their own hands. Much of the furniture would have been handed down from parents and grandparents. Ukrainians don’t buy home insurance. There will be no cheque to help start again. What is lost is gone forever.
Ukrainians don’t trust banks either. They keep their savings in foreign currency and when they have enough, they buy property or land. Unlike people in the UK who waste their lives mowing lawns and trimming decorative bushes, Ukrainians pride themselves on using their land to grow food. The British garden is a tidy, sterile, soulless place. The Ukrainian garden is productive and alive. You won’t see empty lawns and astroturfed front yards, instead, they grow potatoes, onions, carrots, courgettes, eggplants and beetroot. Their gardens also contain all kinds of berry bushes and fruit trees. Many keep chickens, rabbits, geese, cows, and pigs. There’ll be whole communities of babushkas whose lives revolve around their gardens, pets, and livestock. Gardening for them is not a hobby but a way of life. Downstream of the dam, all this is gone…”.
Just recently a partner organisation in Kharkiv asked us for funds to buy chicks, chicken feed and vegetable seeds for people living in formerly occupied territory, where there are few functioning shops and much destruction. As a result of our donation 100 residents of one village received day-old chicks (10 each), chicken feed (25 kg each) and seeds (20 packets each). The partners told us “this help was received with gratitude and joy. Thanks to this, each of the 100 residents will be able to get about 20 kg of meat and many kilos of vegetables, which will help them survive during this difficult period.”
Our grants are small, but go a long way. Imagine, just one small grant helped a hundred villagers to grow their own food for the summer and autumn (and maybe preserves for winter too)! We have just agreed to support another village in the same way. It shows that seeing a psychologist for an hour or two is not the only way people can begin to recover from the trauma that they have experienced. For sure, many people require serious psychological intervention to help them, and this is also being provided by some of our partners, especially through our new project that involves six partner organisations, about which we have reported separately in our recent appeal updates, and we will be providing further information as the project progresses.