FICE Croatia's Experience in Working with Children in Alternative Care from Ukraine
Since May 2022, FICE Croatia has been conducting voluntary activities with 10 children from a home for children in alternative care from Ukraine who were placed in Croatia due to the war. At the initial meetings, the expert team of FICE Croatia assessed the specific needs of the children and, based on that, devised a plan to work with them. During the meetings, the FICE Croatia team used previous international models of working with children from Ukraine and continuously cooperated with the international network FICE International, which made it possible to know exactly how to work with this specific group of children. One of the materials that was used is the workbook Mylifeyourneybook, designed by colleagues from the Netherlands, which contains tasks related to working on potential trauma related to the war, leaving Ukraine, adapting to life in Croatia, etc., which the FICE Croatia team adapted for group work with children with a translator. Also, FICE Croatia carried out outdoor activities, creative workshops, organized a trip to the Zoo and a trip to the camp in Selce called "Idemo na Izvor", during which were organized activities together with other children in care from Croatia from the Center for providing services in the community "Izvor".
„Idemo na Izvor“ ("Let's go to the Izvor") camp with children from alternative care from Ukraine as part of the „FICE Croatia for Ukraine project“
The time and place of the "Idemo na Izvor" camp was October 10-12, 2022. in Selce - Croatia. The leader/s of the activity were representatives and members of FICE Croatia and a translator of the Ukrainian language, and the participants were children from alternative care from Ukraine with whom we have been continuously conducting volunteer activities until now, and who are located in Sveta Nedelja in Croatia.
The purpose of the camp was the organization of group activities in cooperation with the expert team of the Community Service Center Izvor, Selce. Activities included psycho-social workshops, outdoor polygon activities, and cultural and social activities to introduce the diversity of Croatia. The goal of these activities was the more successful integration of children in Croatia, given that they all started school and there they had the opportunity to meet children from other parts of Croatia.
In addition to psycho-social workshops, outdoor polygon activities, sports activities, creative workshops, other activities were also held, such as playing social and fun games, etc. Participants actively participated in all activities and showed great interest, as well as evaluating participation in them as useful for them and their integration.
Most of the activities included children from the Community Service Center "Izvor" in Selce, which contributed to the acquaintance of the participants with other children from alternative care from Croatia. There were also other activities such as a boat trip that was held for the participants and representatives of "Izvor", a visit to the aquarium for the participants, and other activities such as swimming, walking on the beach, going for ice cream, juice, etc., which the participants spent in their free time with the leaders of the activities.
All the activities, socializing in their free time, communication with other children and with the leaders significantly contributed to improving the integration of the children in Croatia, learning the language, customs, seeing the natural beauty of Croatia, exchanging experiences with other children from care.
In the continuation of the "FICE Croatia for Ukraine" project, efforts will continue working on the integration of this group in Croatia through the implementation of other planned activities in the upcoming period. These activities include a visit to Split and organizing activities together with other children from Ukraine located in Split, as well as with professional workers who work with them, then a trip to the Plitvice National Park and other activities that will be carried out in Zagreb and Sveta Nedelja.
Petra Hrvoj, president of FICE Croatia