Since the beginning of this war, nearly 100,000 Ukrainians have taken refuge in France, mainly women and children. Thanks to the Croq’ Vacances association, some of them were able to go on vacation. A few young Ukrainians spent a few days in camp in a campsite in Ille et Vilaine, in Feins. “Watch out kids, are you ready?” It’s noon, it’s time to sit down to eat. An animator starts the ritual song. “Thank you for this meal”, sing in chorus the children. In front of her, 32 children, including four who do not understand everything.
And for good reason, they are Ukrainian refugees. “My name is Elisabeta,” said a little girl. “My name is Sofia,” continues another timidly. Their presence here is a real breath of fresh air in their existence shattered by the war in Ukraine. “Our goal is to see them having fun, doing manual activities, etc.”, explains Margot Floréan, director of the stay.
Activities and rules of life had to be adapted to the situation. “We have a ‘cabin building’ theme. Often, the children take the wooden sticks and make them into weapons”, explains the director. “There, we made the group aware. The same, for our big evening, we will avoid putting balloons in a balloon, because if it explodes, we don’t want to scare them.”
“It makes me sad”
The other children “understood immediately” specifies Margot Floréan. “Children very affected by the fate of their new friends, whom they seize, from the top of their 10/12 years, perfectly the disarray. “It makes me sad”, declares a boy. “I feel bad to see that she saw her relatives being bombed”, says another. “Can you imagine, you are in your country, there is a war and you have to leave? I find, it hurts the heart”, saddens a young man. “It’s unfair”, assures another. “They are happy to be there. But inside, I think it’s not okay,” said another.
Shocking opinions, but benevolent attitudes. This is also the magic of childhood, tenderness has no border: “We cheer them up, we laugh with them”, concludes a young holidaymaker.