Since the war broke out in Ukraine and during the subsequent refugee crisis, NestingPlay has taken an exceptionally active role in helping Ukrainian refugees’ children and their parents in their tragic journeys leaving their homes by assessing their needs, providing them with necessary goods and services in relation early childhood development. We have been focusing our efforts on a number of different areas, such as:

  • assessing about 100 refugee children for school readiness (focusing on key competences needed for school)
  • managing and coordinating the Fonyod refugee camp, serving 80 person from Karpat basin;
  • working with parents, teaching them how to play with their children as play is a life saver activity in such crisis;
  • organizing social, cultural and educational programs for refugees’ children.
  • catching up program for primary school learners

The next landmark activity that NestingPlay is planning to do as part of these efforts is an educational program for particularly disadvantaged Ukrainian refugee children during the first semester of the 2022-2023 academic year. The program is built upon a pilot project implemented during the summer when we provided a two-week-long day camp for 15 highly disadvantaged Roma-origin Ukrainian refugee children aged between 6 and 10. The camp focused on the assessment and structured development of the often markedly underdeveloped skills and competencies of the participating children which have been further deteriorated by the traumas of the war, the fleeing from home, and the bleak reality of living as refugees in a barely welcoming country. Our new program will continue to focus on the development of participants’ skills and competencies, thus aiding their integration and future success in the Hungarian education system. We are planning 4 weekend day camps, as well as a role-playing day every other weekend where children spend an entire day at the JCC playing and having fun in a structured way.

Addressed Needs

Contrary to all hope and expert predictions, the war in Ukraine is still ongoing after more than six months, and the refugee crisis that unfolds in its shadow still needs the help. Among the many different social groups deserving of our help, Roma refugee children coming from deep poverty stand out as the most vulnerable of all.

The Roma minority in Ukraine had already been living in underprivileged social and economic circumstances for many decades, but the war and fleeing from home have exacerbated their disadvantages. This is clearly noticeable in the way children are lagging behind in all important development areas necessary for their school performance and general well-being. On average, underprivileged Roma refugee children are 2 years behind in their development compared to their peers who haven’t experienced poverty, discrimination, or the trauma of war. With the start of the new school year just around the corner, these children are facing an unspeakable level of existential and emotional uncertainty. Even though they are safe from air raids and missiles, they are forced to live in bleak, overcrowded shelters and they lack any kind of intellectual stimulation or meaningful leisure activities.

It is our mission to help refugee children, special focus on early childhood, with every tool we have at hand. With a comprehensive educational program, we plan to provide a safe space for them where they can develop their skills and competencies, expand their knowledge, and find release from their traumas through the power of play.