Picture yourself on a bus, the distant echoes of daily explosions fading away, the constant stress of war's disruptions left behind. You're eager to escape yet filled with apprehension. What will it be like where you're going? Will you feel welcome? Will you make friends? How will the food be, and will there be bullies, soldiers, or loud noises? This is the reality for children living in war zones.
Then, after what feels like an eternity, you're told you're approaching the destination. Your stomach flutters inside. In the distance, you see something extraordinary: colors moving like flowers in a field. You drive closer, and you see that the colors are people. They are cheering and dancing, waving pompoms. Some of them are dressed in costumes and dancing to loud music. Your vehicle stops, and you get out. That is when you realize that all these people are there to welcome you. They are having a party for you because they are so glad you have come! You don’t know how to respond to this reception, but you know, without a doubt, that you are welcome.

And then in the evening there was a welcoming ceremony

All this happened today.
We are at the Karabin camp, a Ukrainian foundation-run campground. For the first time, Novi has collaborated with this foundation to arrange a camp, especially for children living on the frontlines of the fighting with Russia. The camp aims to give these hundred children aged 6-12 a deserved break from the war. Many of them have experienced horrific atrocities since Russia invaded Ukraine two and a half years ago. We want them to feel safe, enjoy themselves, make new friends, laugh, and play. These are things that should be normal for all kids. For the children in Ukraine, it is not so easy.
The welcome the children received at the camp touched me in many ways. The fact that the staff made such an effort to make sure the children knew they were welcome moved me. How often has such bravado welcomed them? To see the children’s unbelieving eyes was precious.
It made me think of all the other children around the world who are living in war and conflict. How do we make them feel welcome? Not just when they arrive in our countries, but how we help them understand that they are loved, not forgotten. They are valued, not a burden.
Our goal is to make children of war, young ones who live in conflict-ridden areas, know and experience that they welcome. Welcome into our world, just like the children who felt welcomed to the Karabin camp. Should this not be all of our goals?

Oddny Gumaer


other articles