Blog / June 14th, 2022
Finding & Giving Support During The Ukrainian Crisis
As the news from Ukraine develops, the continuing events and reports may lead girls in your units to raise questions and concerns, causing you to potentially feel pressure to support the girls and answer their questions. We want to be able to support you, to support your girls on this sensitive topic.
It is likely girls will hear about what is going on through school, online information, the news and overheard conversations. Therefore, if the girls approach you wanting to discuss the crisis, it is important to make time and listen. You can firstly start by asking what they have already heard and open it up to the unit to raise any worries or thoughts they might be having.
Don’t worry about the perfect thing to say. Just opening up this conversation for the girls can help them process what is happening and learn how it fits into their world. There are resources available from credible sources – such as Newsround, Young Minds, UNICEF, Save The Children – to further support you in having these conversations. Girlguiding UK have also created activities to support you in talking about difficult situations, which can be found here.
As a unit you can explore how hearing about the situation is making the girls feel, and respond by validating their feelings, giving comfort and reassurance. One way to do this is to focus on the helpers. Reassure them that adults all over the world are working hard to resolve this – let them know about the organisations, movements and people who are helping to stop the war.
It’s at this point that you could ask your unit what would help them at this time to make them feel safe or less worried. Perhaps look into giving them a practical way to help. During March, Girlguiding released an article on supporting the people in Ukraine during this crisis, how you can support girls at home and in your units, and on welcoming girls, young women and volunteers who have recently fled Ukraine for safety into our units. A Brownie leader and their unit did their good turns by creating care bags for refugees after the girls talked about being upset by footage of the crisis on the television. On a smaller – but still helpful – scale, you could look to support other countries and regions in Girlguiding in their endeavours to aid in the crisis. Girlguiding LaSER have released their Stand Together For Peace badge, information on which can be found here, and Girlguiding Cymru have also released a fundraising badge which you can preorder here.
Having open and mindful conversations with children and young people about how they’re feeling, and sharing how you feel too, is one of the best ways you can support them as these events continue to unfold.
Finally, it is important during this time that you also take care of your own mental wellbeing alongside that of the girls in your care. Don’t hesitate to reach out for advice and support of your own in the coming months. If you’re feeling anxious, take some time for yourself to relax, perhaps look at our latest wellbeing blog for ways to help you rest and recharge.