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Shevchenko asks to take more care of the mental health of children fleeing from the war

Shevchenko signs autographs during his visit to young refugees in Poland / . @Laureus

Ukrainian football legend made a surprise visit to a program for young refugees in Poland

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Ukrainian soccer legend Andriy Shevchenko called on Monday for more mental health support for young refugees, following a surprise visit to meet children who have fled the horrors of war in his country.

He visited a summer school in Warsaw that helps Ukrainian children recapture lost learning and fun. Since the war escalated five months ago, at least 5.8 million refugees from Ukraine have been registered across Europe, half of whom are estimated to be children and many of whom have not had access to education for weeks.

Save the Children’s summer schools for Ukrainian children in Poland offer a safe haven where young refugees can boost their education and their mental health and psychosocial well-being.

Shevchenko, 45, the former Ukraine captain and coach and former Milan and Chelsea striker, was at the school where he visited TeamUp, an intervention designed to improve children’s mental health and psychosocial well-being through play.

“Nearly three million children in Ukraine have been forced to flee their homes in the last five months as a result of the conflict. The physical impact of the war is evident, but we cannot forget the psychological impact on these young people. It is not enough to take a child out of war. We have to get the war out of the children,” Shevchenko said.

“Sport has incredible power to break down barriers and create hope in times of despair. Today in Warsaw we have seen the best of sport and gaming in action during the fun and constructive TeamUp activities. I am proud and grateful that Laureus supports initiatives like this, working in partnership with War Child and Save the Children, to help these children and their families. We must continue to work together for the future of these children.”

Shevchenko won the Ballon d’Or in 2004 and retired from professional football in 2012. He returned to the sport in 2016 as an assistant coach of the Ukraine national team and was appointed as the coach from 2016 to 2021, leading the country to the quarterfinals. of Eurocopa 2020. Recently, he has been coach of Genoa, of Serie A.

Many of the children Shevchenko met with experience daily uncertainty, fear and anguish. Even when they find safety in another country, they are often quiet and withdrawn or brash and pushy. Summer schools give these children the opportunity to explore and process their emotional experiences with sport and play, while ensuring that they do not fall behind in their learning.

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