The kids can be seen giving their new classmate, a warm welcome with a group hug.
In a heartwarming video shared by a proud uncle, a little boy can be seen starting his first day of school in Spain, just weeks after fleeing from Ukraine.
Ukrainian amateur boxer Denis Visotskiy posted a video on his social media accounts showing his nephew's new classmates at a school in Madrid embracing him with open arms, according to ABC News Australia.
In the video shared on TikTok, the kids can be seen giving their new classmate—who doesn't speak Spanish—a warm welcome with a group hug. "My nephew at school, his first day, he was a refugee from Ukraine two weeks ago," Visotskiy said. "Thank you, Spain."
Per Spanish media, the little one left for Poland by bus with his mother and younger sister, before traveling on to Madrid, where his uncle and grandmother are settled. His father stayed behind to fight in the war.
The little boy seemed hesitant at first, but soon returned the hugs with a wide smile on his face, too!
The heartwarming video was shared widely on social media, including big names like Ukrainian diplomat Olexander Scherba. "If only we adults could learn from these children that it is love that makes the world go round," one user commented on Scherba's post. "Now that's what I call welcome with open arms. I hope you can find the peace and love you so deserve here in Spain," another added.
This boy is just one of the several children who have fled the country amidst the Russian invasion. Over 1.5 million children have fled the country since Feb. 24, totaling more than 75,000 kids, UNICEF reported, per Fox News.
James Elder, a UNICEF spokesperson, said this last week alone, at each moment, 55 children flee Ukraine. That's almost one child per second.
Dr. Maryam S. Sharifian, a James Madison University assistant professor of education specializing in refugee children spoke about how Ukrainian children undergo a lot of turmoil as they abandon family members, friends, and belongings to flee to a foreign destination that is still unknown until they get there.
A small pack of markers. A small moment of respite for kids in #Moldova.— Jenelle Eli (@jenelle_eli) March 20, 2022
Safe play spaces can restore a sense of normalcy for children fleeing #Ukraine.
1300+ Moldova Red Cross volunteers, backed by @ifrc, are helping families through difficult times. pic.twitter.com/jZPVDtis5N
"We all have heard [of] separation anxiety as a phenomenon during the early childhood stage," she said. "This process is confusing, stressful, and difficult to comprehend for children."
Dr. Sharifian then added that children exposed to war can exhibit such PTSD symptoms as fear, frustration, anxiety, fluctuation in physical activity, lack of sleep, clinging to people, decreased concentration, loss of appetite, and angry outbursts or tantrums.
One out of every four children attending school has been exposed to an event that can impact learning and behavior, she also said. "War trauma not only affects the current health conditions of children — but their future education may also be severely affected by these experiences," she said.
But, even though kids are always the first victims during wartime, there are strategies in place to prevent permanent psychological damage. "Strategies such as enhancing self-esteem, self-efficacy and optimism in children by teaching them decision-making skills, achievable tasks, and spirituality have much potential," she said.
"Resilience is an important factor in preparing them to move on to a healthy and successful future."
For children fleeing conflict in #Ukraine, our Child Friendly Spaces in Romania offer kids a safe environment where they can play and recover from their traumatic experiences. pic.twitter.com/aYUiA5cfkw— Save the Children US (@SavetheChildren) March 23, 2022
She also suggested using relaxation tactics such as breathing exercises, music, and exercise on the kids to help them. "They should also help children to identify and label emotions and feelings, express their feelings and ask for help," she said. "Parents can also role-play and ask children what they would tell a best friend, toy, or stuffed animal to do when they are scared. It is also a practical strategy … to help them navigate their feelings [and] to learn about coping strategies."
Disclaimer: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a developing story, and we’ll update as we learn more. Information is swiftly changing and Women Working is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication.
Cover Image Source: TikTok | Denis Visotskiy (denis.on22)