Refugee children now need peace, understanding and friends the most, says F Point’s Andrea Chvátalová in Jihlava | Company News

F Point vzw, also supported by the city of Jihlava, is currently caring for around 250 newly arrived Ukrainian children. This helps them integrate into schools and spend their free time. Experts involved in the Inclusive Education Support Network project have also extended their assistance to children and students from families fleeing war in Ukraine. The whole support network for refugee children is coordinated by the main social worker Andrea Chvátalová of the non-profit organization F Point.

How many Ukrainian children do you currently take care of?
There are about 250 newly arrived Ukrainian children to whom we provide social services. In addition, we have children in our educational assistance and in afternoon clubs to whom we provided social services before the start of the war – there are also 169 Ukrainian children. In the educational project Support Networks for Inclusive Education, there are 30 more. That is a total of around 450 children. But we don’t pay attention to everyone every day, we couldn’t do that.

F-spot is a voluntary, non-governmental, non-profit citizen group that brings together people who wish to work together to prevent socio-pathological and undesirable phenomena in society, particularly in helping children, integrating foreigners and d other excluded people, and to enable people to learn and develop Christian spiritual values. As such, the association operates, associates and employs people.

How do you treat them? How do you help them?
The main objective is to help children integrate into the team, not just at school. Assistants/Consultants attend schools regularly and are dedicated to teaching them. They expand vocabulary and communication skills. They catch up on grammar and explain it. In the afternoons, we organize educational clubs for children, where they practice the program and make new friends. There is now a big increase in the number of schools where children can be placed and morning clubs for children who are out of school. In addition, we offer parents basic advice and the opportunity to learn Czech.

What do you think Ukrainian children need the most? What are they missing, what are they not managing?
We believe that the children of pre-war refugees today most need peace, understanding, friends and comrades. They want to learn Czech, circle around. They definitely need to fill their free time. Every day, we prepare snacks for them, which we receive from very willing donors.

How do children get involved in everyday life? How are they doing in schools/kindergartens?
Ukrainians have a very similar language and culture. Therefore, they are able to understand relatively well after a few days and will soon speak even partially Czech. A small problem is the Ukrainian education system, which is not the same as ours. But it is not insoluble. School results always depend on the approach of the family. If the family cooperates, success will come both in school and in everyday life. Young children learn and adapt faster. A friendly approach helps older children.

In what state do they come to Jihlava?
It is not known in what condition they come to Jihlava, they can already be seen when they are registered and housed. The clothes depend on the family, some children are in tracksuits, others are dressed normally.

At first they cry more, are sadder, but soon they get involved and react to the activities. The grief of the family left behind in Ukraine is reflected in the story. Some stories are really very sad.

Will the Ukrainian House, which has settled in Jihlava, help you in your work?
This will certainly help, given the sharp increase in the number of new arrivals. Our spaces are no longer sufficient and the children are crowding into the classrooms. For example, in the playroom, where 8 children normally go, up to 20 of them move at once, they push, bury themselves, have toys scattered everywhere and there is no place for to move. In some classrooms, for example, people sit on the stairs. The new premises will really help a lot.

Can the public / volunteers help you in your work?
The help of volunteers is now essential to us. Although we are looking for at least one other Czech worker, preferably with educational or social qualifications. However, not all positions can be paid. For so many children and for the expansion into new premises, it takes many adults who can do it with children. We therefore especially lack volunteer teaching assistants for the morning clubs, where we would welcome retired teachers or teachers on maternity leave, provided that the child can play in the children’s corner for the moment.

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