Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

A Creative Hut

A development studio that helps children in crisis situations is operating in Kramatorsk
29 February, 2016 - 18:40

“The idea of founding the Creative Hut emerged when in the Free House, which was opened with the help of the Lviv Educational Foundation (Den wrote about it in the issue No. 140 of August 7, 2015), a social direction started to grow. Actually, the Free House emerged after a group of volunteers from Lviv came to help with restoring people’s houses that were damaged by shelling during the occupation of the so-called DNR,” says the administrator of the center and a Kramatorsk activist Alevtyna HARMASH, “Later the volunteers started to help the children who found themselves in complicated circumstances. They gathered things, helped to do the repair works, and prepared children for school. One day we understood that we needed to create a separate project that would be meant specifically for children. Later we for a long time were looking for premises and funding, and that was how we finally started the work.” The premises were repaired by volunteers, but the donors provided them with all materials.

The Creative Hut looks like a children’s development studio, because the activists offer creative classes, help children to prepare for school. “But, on the other hand, we don’t leave our social work and continue to help the children who need this,” Alevtyna notes, “The classes at the Creative Hut often cost a symbolical sum, but this is not a commercial activity. We need money to provide the work of the center.”

The number of the projects at the center is impressive: there is a mini-kindergarten, a drawing club, a school of art and painting, a spoken English club. The activists have ambitious plans too: master classes for parents and children on quilling, origami, decoupage, soap making, etc., a handmade goods festival.

“Our creativity classes do not have the goal of making an artist of every child, but first and foremost to develop children’s attention, memory, and aesthetic taste with the help of art,” artist Anna Stativa commented on her classes. There is also a unique opportunity to learn Chinese at the center. A resident of Kramatorsk Yana Ladyka, who always tells about the culture of Ancient China with delight, has a teaching method of her own.

Well-known children’s writers visit the Hut too. “I think it will be interesting for children and parents to learn more about the contemporary Ukrainian children’s literature, because it is hard to buy books for children in Ukrainian here,” Harmash says. “Yevhenia Piroh, who is known as Jinni for the children’s audience has visited us. The writer organized an action “Book Nestling Box,” within the framework of which Ukrainian-language books have been gathered in Kyiv and sent to children in Kramatorsk. People and libraries from different cities of Ukraine joined the action, which indicates that so many people care about us. There is a stand with books for free reading at the Creative Hut. Natalia Trokhym, a writer and translator from Lviv, has come to visit us, as well as an artist from the United Kingdom Joseph Still, and a master class on circus art was held.”

The Creative Hut is involved in the program of the Lviv Educational Foundation “Instruction for the children of ATO heroes.” Inna Pasichnyk, another administrator of the project, says, “An instructor is a volunteer who is responsible for making the child’s life more versatile, he is free to choose the mechanisms and methods of working with the children, and at the same time controls their reaction and feedback. He must protect the child in a crisis situation from destructive factors, distract from everyday problems, create conditions for useful leisure, as well as provide the feeling of trust with the help of regular communication.”

The Creative Hut is located near the central square of Kramatorsk, at 10 Myru Avenue.

By Khrystyna HRYSHCHUK. Photo by the author