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Heartbreaking drawing by a Ukrainian refugee child shows the devastating effects of war seven months after Russia's invasion

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Airstrikes, bombs, guns and grenades are depicted in the drawing of a 10-year-old Ukrainian refugee.

Seven months after Russia’s unilateral invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, thousands of lives have been lost, families scattered around the world, and survivors must pick up the pieces.


A heartbreaking drawing by a 10-year-old Ukrainian refugeeCredit: Mood Star Children’s Foundation
A Ukrainian refugee child at a refugee center in Italy


A Ukrainian refugee child at a refugee center in ItalyCredit: Mood Star Children’s Foundation

The boy who painted is in a refugee center in Italy, while his father is still in Ukraine fighting the Russians.

Dr. David Schoenfeld, director of the National School Crisis Center at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, told the US Sun that the two people in the painting are likely the crying boy and his mother.

Dr. Schonfeld, who leads a trauma team that goes to a refugee camp in Ukraine, shows that the boy is grieving and realizes his mother is hurt.

Art therapy is part of the support the Italians have provided to children, says a prominent expert.

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He noted that the painting does not contain an adult male. This is what he often saw when he visited refugee centers in Ukraine.

“It’s probably because many children were separated from their adult male families,” Dr. Schonfeld said. My heart is still in Ukraine or with my father who is in Ukraine.

“They have lost their sense of security and are worried about their loved ones.”

Children and adults need more help

The Moodstars Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit working with young children’s emotional literacy and resilience, shared with the US Sun other drawings made by Ukrainian children at a refugee center.

Dennis Daniels, an expert in child development and psychology and head of the nonprofit, said children in Ukraine are not getting the support they need when school starts.

“Currently, Ukrainian children go to school and are taught in an unfamiliar language while suffering the unspeakable atrocities of war,” Daniels said.

“While memory-obsessed children experience trauma, grief and heartbreaking loss, critical bereavement services and the services their caregivers need are largely unavailable or inadequate, and local mental health Workers are spread thin.”

Lack of emotional support includes adults, says Dr. Schonfeld.

He said being in an Italian refugee center, which uses an abandoned hotel to house Ukrainians fleeing the war, was better than being in a war-torn country, but his mother and lack adequate emotional support resources for caregivers.

“I worry about the adults in these refugee centers,” said Dr. Schonfeld.

“Mothers and guardians are more conscious than their children and are worried about their husbands, brothers and fathers who are still in Ukraine.”

He visited his family after Hurricane Katrina separated them and forced them into a refugee center.

Schonfeld said depression hit adults and saw substance abuse and overdoses, suicide and domestic violence.

“They (adult Ukrainian refugees) need more help to create a bright future for them and their children,” he added.

scary for life

Daniels said what the children experienced in Ukraine could affect them forever.

“Children who hide in air raid shelters, basements and burned buildings bear not only the physical scars of war, but also the invisible emotional and psychological scars.

“War has short-term and long-term effects. Vulnerable children can experience devastating consequences as a result of trauma.

“Witnessing death, destruction, separation from parents and living with the turmoil of life can prolong grief.

“It can affect the physical, social and emotional health of children.
poor academic performance and poor behavioral development. “

Dr. Schonfeld said he heard about the bombing at a refugee’s birthday party.

They sang Happy Birthday and were about to cut the cake when they heard the sound of an airplane.

But they didn’t. A bomb hit the building, killing dozens and injuring several others.

Daniels said these traumas can also manifest in physical form.

“Children may experience physical symptoms such as headaches and abdominal pain,” she said.

“There may be sleep disturbances, nightmares, loss of appetite, emotional numbing to block out the pain.

“Toddlers may experience regressive behaviors such as clinging, bedwetting and thumb sucking.
A child about 3 years old.

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“Without early intervention, the road to recovery can be lifelong, depending on the support you receive from your caregivers.

“That’s why it’s important to provide grief and loss resources.
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Dr. Schonfeld, director of the National School Crisis Center at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, told the US Sun.


Dr. Schonfeld, director of the National School Crisis Center at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, told the US Sun.
Art therapy is an important part of helping Ukrainian refugee children


Art therapy is an important part of helping Ukrainian refugee childrenCredit: Mood Star Children’s Foundation