A Friendly Space to Be a Kid

May 31, 2022

Scroll through the slides to see our Refugee Hub in action

Our childhood years are a time for learning, growing, making friends and forming happy memories that will last us a lifetime. When war happens, however, all of this is disrupted. Children are forced to abandon their studies, their friends and the only life they have ever known. As their sense of normalcy and routine is pulled out from under them, children face new challenges and hardships that no child should have to experience.

While the lives of Ukrainian refugee children have been irreversibly changed, at CWS we are seeking ways to allow these children to regain their sense of normalcy. Through our local partner Diaconia in Moldova, we have created a Refugee Hub where children can feel safe and have the opportunity to just be a kid.

The focus of the Refugee Hub is to provide children with education and psychosocial support. Inside, you will find a cozy space with beanbags, board games, desks and laptops. The space is designed to feel comfortable and be a place where children can attend online school, play games and meet other children. One of the children in the program stated, “I like the way the space is arranged here, it is very colorful, with beanbags and board games.”

A fundamental purpose of the Refugee Hub is to make sure children are able to continue their studies. Due to the war, many children lost access to computers and Wi-Fi and/or have had to listen to their classes in uncomfortable spaces. The Refugee Hub replicates a normal classroom as much as possible while providing children with laptops and Wi-Fi. Another child in the program shared, “there are no words to explain how good it is to do online lessons in a special space dedicated to us. Previously, we were attending the online lessons while staying in bed, in the refugee center. It is much better now.”

To help the children momentarily forget about what is going on back home, the volunteers at the Refugee Hub create fun activities for the children. One of the children shared, “I really like the outdoor activities our teachers are carrying out for us.” Another said, “I would love to participate in the center’s activities during summertime.” By keeping children active and allowing them to meet other kids that share their experiences, the Refugee Hub helps children release stress and encourages good mental health.

As we develop the Refugee Hub, we are also working on creating programs for young adults and women. These programs will focus on psychosocial support and will be geared towards the needs of the youth and women. While war is a major disruption in anyone’s life, the Refugee Hub acts as a space where friendships can form and hope can be renewed.