war in Ukraine through the eyes of children – DW – 9/22/2022

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

February 24, 2022 Russia attacked Ukraine. War paralyzes people and their lives, forcing them to leave their homes, be separated from their loved ones and experience the loss of loved ones. Psychological pain is superimposed on physical suffering. It is difficult for people of all generations to deal with it. How they experience what is happening children in Ukraine? How do they see? war And what are their expectations for the future?

A possible answer to this question is a children’s drawing. Selection of works Ukrainian children and adolescents aged four to eighteen participated in the exhibition of the Aachen People’s University (Volkshochschule Aachen). People’s universities, which can be found in almost every city in Germany, are institutions that offer various courses in advanced training, language courses, including German courses for foreigners, as well as other general educational events, lectures, discussions and film screenings. The Aachen People’s University is visited by about 800 people every day. Listeners and everyone can watch the Ukrainian Children’s Exhibition for free until January 31, 2023.

Drawing as a way of psychological enlightenment

The exhibition in Aachen featured only a selection of children’s work from a collection of 300 drawings, collected by the German-based software developer Gregory Kanovey. He represents the German-Ukrainian Society “Blue and Yellow Cross” (Blau-Gelbes Kreuz), as well as the Association of Ukrainians in Aachen.

Photo: Grigory Kanovey

Grigory Kanovey is from Ukraine, from the city of Shostka, Sumy region. There he collected his first collection of drawings. Calling on children to draw what they think and feel, Canoway first addressed the issue immediately after the outbreak of war – in March 2022. In the first four days alone, he received 80 drawings by email. In April, the project initiator collected drawings of children from the city of Dnipro in the same way.

“When (in March – Ed.) we thought about how to relieve children psychologically, we wanted to organize psychotherapy for them. But it was difficult, – says Grigory Kanovey. – And we decided to invite them to “throw” everything they feel on paper. I said, “Send the drawings to me.” And then I decided to show people in Germany how children see what is happening and how they feel what is going on in their heads.”

From despair to hope

The first drawings the children sent in show how shocked they were at what happened. “After all, the first days of the war were a shock to everyone, including me,” says the initiator of the project. “I was completely ill, but I am an adult. What can we say about what the children felt? We organized this project.”

Photo: Grigory Kanovey

When the Ukrainian army achieved some victories on the battlefield, the children understood that they were protected and Ukrainian soldiers began to appear in the drawings. Then came the work, showing that there is hope, Canoway recalls. Some drawings show children saying goodbye to their father and waving goodbye from the windows of trains bound for Europe. Some works are extremely emotional, others are more subdued.

Gregory Kanovey knows one of the authors personally, because he knows his parents. This is a girl Lisa from the city of Shostka, she is 14 years old. She is now in Ukraine. “Her mother is doing an important and honorable job helping the country,” Canoway says. Lisa’s drawing shows a girl with a Ukrainian flag on a bicycle. Ahead of her on the horizon are clouds of smoke and tanks with a terrifying letter Z. “Help us! I want to live!” Lisa wrote in English and German.

Photo: Grigory Kanovey

Some of the children from the town of Dnipro who provided their drawings for the project can be seen in the video posted on YouTube. “Our life was divided into “before” and “after,” says the girl in it. “We are grateful to all the hospitable countries that gave us asylum,” adds the young man. Children talk in English about how they were adopted on many places: in Poland, Austria, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Germany, Finland, Turkey… But they all want to go back to peaceful Ukraine.

About the war in Ukraine – the language of children’s drawings

What is the purpose of the exhibition in Aachen? What reaction do the organizers expect from visitors? “My goal is to arouse sympathy and sympathy,” explains Grigory Kanovey. According to him, donations to the Blue-Yellow Cross Society are also welcome, which go to various projects for Ukraine.

“It’s human nature to get used to it. A man cannot be in a state of fear for months, though people in Ukraine it is this state that is experienced, – says the director of the Volksuniversität Aachen, Beate Blüggel, at the opening of the exhibition. – That is why I think it is important to remind you of this again. We hold many political education events. These drawings are another, also very important view of what is happening.”

Photo: Grigory Kanovey

“We have a lot in Aachen refugees from Ukraine. It is important that these drawings make it clear what exactly they have experienced, so that it evokes understanding, patience and confidence in these people, says Ye-One Rhie, Federal Deputy of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). ), who contributed to the organization of the exhibition. – I think it is very important that thanks to these drawings we understand that war in general any means of war for children. They are forced to see rocket explosions, blood and violence, and you can only wonder how they deal with that. I was impressed by how expressive these drawings are.”

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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