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Ukraine's Children Of War

The conflict in eastern Ukraine has displaced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. Many of them are traumatized by what they have experienced. In a forest near Kyiv, a camp has been set up to help children and teenagers. Volunteers renovated a 1950s sanitorium, and psychologists work with the kids over a three-week period. Serhiy Korovayniy of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service asked them about their dreams for the future.

Bohdan: “My dream is to drive a truck. I’m looking forward to being 18 and getting my license.”
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Bohdan: “My dream is to drive a truck. I’m looking forward to being 18 and getting my license.”

Sports, games and other activities are an important part of the children's rehabilitation.
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Sports, games and other activities are an important part of the children's rehabilitation.

Danya: “My dream is to go back home, but the war stops me doing that. The war, the shooting, all of that.”
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Danya: “My dream is to go back home, but the war stops me doing that. The war, the shooting, all of that.”

Signs of the children's home towns at the camp, which is called “Lisova zastava” (“Forest Outpost”)
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Signs of the children's home towns at the camp, which is called “Lisova zastava” (“Forest Outpost”)

Iolanta: “My dream is to become a singer, and perform on a big stage. If I had a lot of money, I’d spend it all on schooling.”
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Iolanta: “My dream is to become a singer, and perform on a big stage. If I had a lot of money, I’d spend it all on schooling.”

Crawling through a “spider's web,” during a quest game. 
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Crawling through a “spider's web,” during a quest game. 

An adult gives a boy a hug after he got upset.
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An adult gives a boy a hug after he got upset.

Kyryl: “I dream about returning to Luhansk and living in my old home. Maybe in the future I’d like to go to a different city, but as a free choice, not because of war.”
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Kyryl: “I dream about returning to Luhansk and living in my old home. Maybe in the future I’d like to go to a different city, but as a free choice, not because of war.”

After lunch, a lone girl remains in the canteen, struggling to finish her food. The camp doctor tries to persuade her to eat some more.
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After lunch, a lone girl remains in the canteen, struggling to finish her food. The camp doctor tries to persuade her to eat some more.

Therapy. A boy is drawing words. He drew a tank for the word “war.”
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Therapy. A boy is drawing words. He drew a tank for the word “war.”

Sasha: “I want to become an actress, but I haven’t thought much about what university I should go to. Besides, I feel like I’m not going to make it.”
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Sasha: “I want to become an actress, but I haven’t thought much about what university I should go to. Besides, I feel like I’m not going to make it.”

Taking care of animals is an important part of children’s psychological rehabilitation.
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Taking care of animals is an important part of children’s psychological rehabilitation.

Andrii: “I want to join a police academy, and graduate as a lieutenant. Then – duty, house, apartment, wife, family.”
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Andrii: “I want to join a police academy, and graduate as a lieutenant. Then – duty, house, apartment, wife, family.”

Older kids can work out in a small gym.
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Older kids can work out in a small gym.

Alina: “I would like to graduate with good grades from school and university, most likely from the faculty of journalism, and find a nice well-paid job to provide for the family. If I had a lot of money, I’d donate it.”
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Alina: “I would like to graduate with good grades from school and university, most likely from the faculty of journalism, and find a nice well-paid job to provide for the family. If I had a lot of money, I’d donate it.”

At the end of the day, the children gather to share their emotions and impressions of the day's events.
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At the end of the day, the children gather to share their emotions and impressions of the day's events.

Alina: “Return back home, that’s obvious. I don’t want anything else.”
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Alina: “Return back home, that’s obvious. I don’t want anything else.”

Morning gymnastics.
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Morning gymnastics.

Mykhailo: “I want to become a chef. I would also like to go to America. I’d work in a restaurant there, make money for the family and buy a Mitsubishi.” 
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Mykhailo: “I want to become a chef. I would also like to go to America. I’d work in a restaurant there, make money for the family and buy a Mitsubishi.” 

Camp psychologists say many children are closed when they arrive at the camp, distrustful of other people and the world around them. With the help of the specialists, they learn to make friends and trust people.
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Camp psychologists say many children are closed when they arrive at the camp, distrustful of other people and the world around them. With the help of the specialists, they learn to make friends and trust people.

Children and adults beat drums, calling for sunny weather tomorrow.
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Children and adults beat drums, calling for sunny weather tomorrow.

Evening - movie time!
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Evening - movie time!

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