Saving Lives helps roll out Hibuki therapy project for children in Donetsk Oblast

Metinvest’s Saving Lives humanitarian initiative has started a psychological support programme for the kids in Pokrovsk and Myrnohrad communities.

Hibuki therapy is an Israeli technique that helps improve a child's emotional well-being, a pressing issue in Ukraine now. The programme has been implemented by local authorities since last year, but the number of children in need of psychological support is growing every day. Project coordinator Olena Kharchevna asked Metinvest for help.

Saving Lives has financed manufacture of 120 Hibuki toy dogs fundamental to the therapy. The therapy process is that a child shares his/her experiences and fears with the toy and, talking on behalf of the dog, lives through his own experiences and speaks about his emotions and feelings instead of focusing on his/her trauma.

"Child's health is of paramount importance. Thank you for supporting our initiative. Together, we can do much more. Our first attempts to introduce the hibuki therapy last year have shown how effective this technique is. Therefore, more and more parents whose children need psychological support seek our assistance. With Metinvest's help we managed to increase the number of programme participants, engage specialists who then underwent training and received the respective certificates," stated deputy head of Pokrovsk military administration Olena Kharchevna. 

To learn the methodology, the parents of young participants were invited to meet with psychologists who had taken special training. Soon little residents of the communities will receive their Hibuki toy dogs, so it's really important to understand the therapy, its tools, and how it works. Following the brief, the parents filled in the programme papers and learnt more about the schedule. Overall, there will be five sessions running simultaneously for adults and children. The children will get their Hibuki toy during their second session, and it will become their true friend and strong support day and night.

"Because of the war, many people need psychological support, but children's health is of paramount importance. We want to see our children's faces light up with happiness. So we could not stay on the sidelines. This is one of the humanitarian areas implemented as part of the Saving Lives initiative. The project goal is to provide psychological support to as many children as possible in Pokrovsk and Myrnohrad communities,"said Olena Dunycheva, a specialist of Social Infrastructure Department at Metinvest Pokrovskvuhillia.

"I am so pleased that Metinvest cares about our children's health. I have never heard of such a therapy before, but I am sure it will help my daughter, because it has proven successful in Israel, a country with an ongoing military conflict. Psychological support is very important now. I guess the toy will interest my child and the therapy will progress naturally. Thank you for the opportunity to take part in this programme,"commented Yevhenia Hnatishyna, mother of 7-year-old Yeva.

"I've heard about this project. When we learned about Metinvest providing an opportunity for parents and children to join the psychological support programme, we immediately agreed to join it. This support is on top of the agenda in our turbulent times, when children come under constant stress from shelling and lack communication with their age mates. I want to take part in the initiative with my child and get good results," shared Iryna Shliueva, mother of 9-year-old Polina.