This became a theme as Novi founders, Steve and Oddny Gumaer, visited several US states over the past weeks. Why should we get involved with the people in Ukraine? Why should we care about the children suffering in war and conflict? Because we are all in this together.
The children who suffer the effects of poverty, trauma and stress due to war, violence and conflict are not the only victims. All of society pays the price.
It means wasted lives—lives of children who could have grown to their full potential, thrived and contributed. Deprivation often means desperation and, in many cases, leads to careless acts, such as extremism, crime, violence or self-harm. Trauma, stress, and poverty is also associated with a high number of health risks. A poor diet affects the development of children as they grow, making them less able to thrive at school and other activities, untreated trauma and stress is also be the cause of many health issues.
It is clear that if we don’t help the children who are living in war and conflict today, the consequences for tomorrow are dire.
This is why it was very encouraging to meet people everywhere who want to be a part of our community by supporting the work Novi is doing. We met people who showed genuine interest and generosity, who wanted to contribute any way they could. They also understood: We are in this together.
While we were sharing with people in the United States, missiles were raining down in Ukraine. Our team was serving courageously and faithfully. “It was a difficult night,” our staff member, Sasha, said. “A lot of explosions in the air and on the ground. They reached many critical civilian infrastructure locations in Kyiv and other cities.” When our team visited a shelter for internally displaced people (IDPs), they could see visible signs of depression among the children and the adults. “I would say they are depressed in that dormitory,” said Sasha. He continued to explain that the people are not talking, and the children are often just lying in their beds all day and night. One of the boys jumped off his bed and ran up to Sasha, gave him a big hug and started crying, he told us later. He whispered in his ear that he had missed him so much.
The trauma of this war is taking its toll on the children of Ukraine. A year into it, and many children are suffering from depression, anxiety and are disturbed. This is why we continue to train psychologists, educational experts, and physical therapists who work with children. Last week we trained 80 adults, all who will be able to help children regulate their emotions and prevent prolonged exposure to stress and trauma.
The war in Ukraine is brutal, and the cost is too high for all, but especially for the children. We must act now to prevent the long-term negative consequences of cruel warfare. We are in this together.
Why should we care about the children suffering in war and conflict? Because we are all in this together ....