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In Russia, enthusiasts make summer camps for refugee children from Ukraine:
"We hope that thanks to us, at least some of the children who fled the war will
have a bit of a normal childhood summer"
According to official statistics, Russia now has more than 1,300 temporary
accommodation centres housing more than 1.1 million refugees.
Vera Bashmakova, a biology teacher, decided to organize summer camps for
Ukrainian refugee children who are still forced to live in temporary
accommodation centres. Her team has already run the first pilot camp in the Tula
region and is now expanding: they are looking for new people and funding to run
at least twenty more camps.
"I consulted with people who organize similar camps for refugees in Europe and
Russia, and the main advice I received was that you should never talk to children
about war, the camp should be an island of normal life and a psychological
support. This advice we follow. It may sound pretentious, but our mission is to
create a haven of peace for children who have been affected by war.
Children need to regain a sense of control over their own lives. That's why their
schedule is as free as possible, they can choose from as many classes as they
want and go from class to class at will, they can choose not to participate in
classes at all, and they can stay on their own. To avoid chaos, we have many
tutors who can gently take care of children who have dropped out of classes.