Saving Lives provides psychological support to children in Donetsk Oblast: Hibuki therapy

Metinvest’s Saving Lives humanitarian initiative has financed the programme for psychological support of the war-affected children in Pokrovsk and Myrnohrad communities, Donetsk Oblast.

Hibuki therapy can help children cope with trauma, in particular, the stress of war. This is the national programme for children support in Israel. Every child will receive a Hibuki toy dog that is one of the best tools for overcoming traumatic and post-traumatic stress syndromes, say psychologists and psychotherapists.

Hibuki is a stuffed dog with sad eyes. It is easy for a child to hug a dog that is as big as a newborn baby and thus feel safe. The toy is very soft and nice on the touch, and is made of safe and durable fabric. Hibuki is translated as “hug”, because the dog is always there and gives a feeling of safety around the clock.

The therapy process is that a child shares his 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 trauma. The child develops his understanding of his condition and needs while he treats his own trauma by taking care of Hibuki.

“I’ve turned to Metinvest for support, and they quickly responded to my request. They understand very well that psychological health of children is the most important thing. Children cannot just wait for the victory. This issue must be resolved right here and right now. Thus, we are grateful to Metinvest for taking care of the residents of our community and their children, including children of Metinvest employees,” said the project coordinator, deputy head of Pokrovsk local military administration Olena Kharchevna.

Hibuki therapy has helped many children from across the globe. It is used not only in Israel, but also in America and Japan. Last year, Daphne Sharon-Maksimov, a psychotherapist from Israel, introduced Hibuki therapy in Ukraine.

Metinvest channelled funds to make 120 Hibuki dogs for children living in Pokrovsk and Myrnohrad.

“Saving Lives, Metinvest’s initiative, has joined the Hibuki project in Pokrovsk. Psychological assistance for children is one of the priorities of the humanitarian initiative implemented in concert with its partners around the world. The project seeks to help as many children from Pokrovsk, Myrnohrad and other towns of Donetsk Oblast as possible,” said Olena Dunycheva, a specialist of Social Infrastructure Department of Pokrovskvuhillia.

In Ukraine, the toy comes with two books – a small comic book and a bit bigger one, with the story and pictures of Hibuki that tell the child who the dog is, where it comes from, what it feels and what it can share with its owner. The books and a pocket on the dog’s tummy came as additional elements of Hibuki therapy especially for Ukrainian children.

The Saving Lives humanitarian initiative was launched by Metinvest Group in concert with the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation since the onset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Over a year of the all-out war, almost 500,000 people benefited from €8,400,000 worth of assistance. Ukrainians received more than 4,000 tonnes of food products and hygiene items, and hospitals benefited from medicine, consumables and equipment to the total amount of more than €246,000. More than 200 companies from all over the globe became the project donors, with 400 volunteers and 10 foundations and NGOs joining the initiative. Saving Lives focuses on providing prosthetic care and rehabilitation to Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, as well as improving psychological and emotional well-being of women and children.