Imagine you are facing these freezing winter temperatures without any hope of finding warmth at home. On top of this struggle, you are living through a brutal war that has taken the lives of your family. The electric keeps dropping out so you find that these already short winter days are even darker. Your carers have no internet connection or ability to communicate with the outside world.
This is the reality for many children in Ukraine. The Russian forces are bombing power stations, leading to nationwide power cuts. Generators are in such high demand that they are impossible to find.
This is why we are raising funds to supply vital electricity to those most in need.
The first week of the war coincided with an internship programme we were running in early 2022. Anton, a Ukrainian national, was studying painting conservation at Northumbria University and had come to us for experience in a working studio. It was the same week that he heard the news that his father had been killed by Russian soldiers.
Anton stayed with our company and we have heard through him the important work that his mother has achieved by supporting children with disabilities as the war progressed.
The Centre for Psychological Assistance Rivnovaga Balance was established by Anton’s family 15 years ago.
During this time it has become one of the most efficient centres in Ukraine by providing a special kindergarten and a school for children with a variety of issues from ADHD to autism.
On February 27, while defending Kyiv from Russian invasion, the founder of the centre (Anton’s father) Volodymyr Nezhenets died. For his feat, he was awarded the Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky.
Rivnovaga Balance did not close the doors of the centre for a single day. Now they are working with injured adults and children, alongside disabled children.
To keep their work going, they now desperately need generators to combat the constant power cuts and lack of heating in sub zero temperatures.
As normal life ceased to exist for them, Rivnovaga Balance was determined to reopen a kindergarten and a school. They taught the children how to properly respond to air raid alerts, go down to the basement and continue to play and develop there.
One of the most vital parts of their work is the development of a program for the rehabilitation of children whose parents have died.
The program is currently successfully working in the Gen Ukraine camp in Spain.