Ukrainian Refugees Get Help Handling War Trauma Through Dance Therapy

The United States will soon be welcoming over 100,000 war refugees from Ukraine.  Many of these people are currently in Bucharest, Romania, waiting to see what their uncertain futures hold.

One of the many refugee agencies helping is the Jesuit Refugee Service. This organization has created a dance program to help many of the traumatized women and children of Ukraine cope with their precarious lives.

“The mothers we see, they can be tough when they’re with their children but when they come and speak with us privately they break down,” said Irene Teodor of Jesuit Refugee Service.

Tetiana Lutsak is at one of the refugee camps were her 5-year-old son Ygor. They are from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, where Russian strikes began soon after the invasion began.

Lutsak says she worries about her son, who was terribly shaken once the Russian shells and bombs started exploding. His behavior has become erratic and unpredictable.

“He saw everything and now he’s repeating it,” she said. “I think he’ll play regular games when this is over and he calms down, games like cars and trains.”

Dorian Leugoue Tchanga is also a refugee who fled war from her native Cameroon. She is one of the dance instructors at the Jesuit Refugee Service. She says she understands the plight of the young Ukrainian refugees in her class.

“It is very hard. It was very hard for me, too,” she says, adding, “I want them to feel joy because I know how it is to be in their places.”

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