April 25, 2024

Living through war: Ukrainian children's experiences highlighted in a book presentation under the Bring Kids Back UA plan

10-year-old Yehor from Mariupol, 12-year-old Artem from Toretsk, and 15-year-old Violetta from Nova Kakhovka. These kids lived under Russian occupation for several months. They hid from shelling, suffered injuries, lost loved ones, and tried to escape back home from the Russian invaders.

There are stories of the book titled "Living the War: Children during the Russian war against Ukraine," presented on April 25th during the "Book Country" festival, as part of the "Bring Kids Back UA" initiative.

The book features personal stories, photographs, and drawings by children who have endured the loss of loved ones, injuries, the destruction of their homes, deportation, and forced detention in occupied areas.

"This plan brings together government agencies and non-governmental organizations to ensure that every child can return to their homes. One of the blocks of the Bring Kids Back UA plan is to inform the international community about what the Ukrainian government is doing to save our children," emphasized Daria Herasymchuk.

Victoria Litvinova, Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine, stressed the importance of identifying and prosecuting criminals, stating, “Testimonies from children who have survived war crimes are crucial for Ukraine’s criminal proceedings. But their health and well-being are even more important. We are doing everything in our power to build a new system for investigating all crimes against children.”

Iryna Suslova, representative of the Children's Ombudsman, discussed the challenges of returning and reintegrating children who were kidnapped and deported to Russia. She said, “The process of returning children is complex: Ukraine gathers information, negotiates with intermediaries and partners, secures their journey home, assesses their needs, and provides comprehensive services, including psychological support. Our goal is to create conditions where children can feel happy at home.”

Publisher Volodymyr Kadygrob has collected eight stories of Ukrainian kids about life during the war: the loss of loved ones, occupation, and deportation. The book is also illustrated with photos and archival drawings and diaries. Bolstered by words from President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Head of the President’s Office, Andriy Yermak, the firsthand stories of children are intended to be read and heard globally. Each narrative demonstrates the resilience of these children and the importance of continuing the fight for their future.

The publication was made with the support of the Orphan Feeding Foundation.