Trimaran and Pyramid offer refugee children structure and fun

While the war was raging in their home country, about thirty children who had fled Ukraine experienced a somewhat “normal” structure. The Edam primary schools Trimaran and Piramide set up a class for the children staying in De Meermin for a period of two weeks. “You see friendships develop with other children even though they do not speak the same language,” says Pyramid director Remco Homan.

During the break, it is clear that football is a global language. Children run around the schoolyard. “CPOW, Opspoor and PSG quickly set up a kind of campus for the young refugees in several places in Purmerend, but initially there was no room for the Edam-Volendam group,” Homan explains. They were looking for a place for these kids until the May holidays because there was a need for structure. Some of the ordinary life, hearing the school bell, playing in the schoolyard, getting a lesson. When the question came to us, we immediately said ‘yes’ and I switched with the director of De Trimaran, Renate Maréchal. Nel Verhoeven coordinated from the municipality. Children up to the age of 8 went to De Trimaran and up to the age of 11 came to us. ”

Sandra van Doorn was asked by the municipality to stand in front of the class. “Without an educational background. It was hard, ”says Homan, as he has just given a lesson himself. ,, There is help from Rostik, a boy of sixteen, who is also in De Meermin. He translates what we say into English. It’s provisional, but it’s rhythmic. The parents originally came from De Meermin to take pictures and film, to show the children at home where they are. ”

“In all grief, it was nice that we could offer the children a place. You see happy faces, they mingle in the schoolyard. You immediately see that the boys with the ball have a little Ronaldo in their house. It does not matter if you are from Singelwijk or Ukraine. We also had Syrian refugees in school here. “There was a girl who said on the first day that she could talk to one of the new children because it was a child who had fled to Ukraine from Syria.”

“It’s a fantastic citizenship lesson you can teach. It is – admittedly the result of a terrible situation – what you want as a school. To meet each other, do something for someone else. I asked our children in advance: what should we do in the schoolyard? Create different groups or involve each other in things? You definitely see the latter happen and friendships are formed. Even if they do not speak the same language. And Rostik, for him it is quite a challenge. He gets put in front of the class for a while and he does an amazing job. If it is to be quiet, he will act immediately. “

Sandra van Doorn says in the schoolyard: ,, There are nineteen children, the most important thing was to offer security and fun, and we have all done that in these two weeks. I have previously worked in asylum seeker centers and have been a supervisor at the Orphanage, but I am currently the project manager for CBW, so I do very different things. ” She looks around. ,, You see a lot of happy faces, also from the parents, and that’s what it’s about. The parents have a small living space in De Meermin and sit there with their whole family, this way they also get some time to relax. And for the kids, it’s nice to do something with friends. We’ve done everything. Creative stuff, and we took advantage of the translated picture books on the big screen. “

‘Rostik:’ Via video
I show my father in Kiev
what I’m doing here

For a moment, he leaves the classroom with children. rustic. He works as an interpreter and ‘master’ for two weeks. only 16 years old. Born in Mikolayiv and studying in Kiev. Until he had to flee because of the war. With her mother and little sister. ,, My father could not leave the country, he works as a soldier. Of course we call each other every day. ” The whites of the eyes have abundant red spots. Of grief and of fatigue. “The excitement is there every day. I follow everything, watch news and movies, so I sleep very badly when I see such horrible things. It just keeps spinning in my head. And here I do not think about it in some time.”

“You keep hoping it all ends,” he continues. ,, There is no meaning. Even if Russia wanted to win, they would still lose because of everything that falls. And because of what people think about it. “There is, of course, daily contact to the home front.” With the refugee and bereaved friends, relatives and teachers. This here calms my mind, distracts me. All my life I lived in peace, and in “For a moment it was bad. My parents both had jobs, and suddenly we were going to Odessa train station. To escape.” “In Ukraine, I had a dream of becoming a musician by profession. I’ve said that since I was five when I saw a band on TV. I had a guitar and often sang at home. I could not take the guitar with me here, because “We could only take a few things with us on the flight. But some people from Edam gave me a guitar, which I play every day.”

“When I was sitting on a bench in De Meermin, a woman asked to be allowed to go with the children, who were allowed to go to school here. I thought, okay, one day I can help. At first it was hard, I was afraid I could not control them. And there were so many kids, it was uncontrollable, I saw Sandra and thought: this is going to be hard for her. So I decided to come every day. And you know, my opinion of children has changed. They make me happy. I can see they’re having fun, they forget the war for a moment. I see them playing with the other children. And the children’s parents thank me every day when they see me at De Meermin. ”

,, And when the children see me in De Meermin or elsewhere in Edam, they call my name or give me a hug. It makes me happy. They are also interested. We did different things here at school, where we worked with ceramics, a quiz, geography or topography. ” He does not want to ‘move’ with when the children go to school in Purmerend. ,, I really want to look for work here, to earn money to feed our family. I’m the only man in the house. “

He swallows. “Obviously I have a lot of feelings and emotions, I do not talk about it that often, so it is good for me to talk about it. My parents are proud. I made videos and also showed them to my father. ” He gives a deep sigh. And holds the tears with difficulty. “Hopefully one day I can pick up my dream in Ukraine again. Or as a musician and maybe as a teacher. Some of my own teachers still live in cities where it’s dangerous. They still teach online and I follow that. I’m so proud of them that they still want to do it. ”

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