The Ternopil Charitable Organization Caritas held Kozak Games on 10 November. The purpose of the event was to draw attention to our nation’s rich history connected with Ukrainian Kozaks and to encourage children and adolescents to lead healthy lifestyles.
Staff of Mobile Work with Youth organized the Kozak Games. This project aims to serve children from crisis families and street children that Caritas Ukraine has been helping for 10 years. Today, Caritas cares for over 500 unsupervised and homeless children in Donetsk, Kyiv, Ternopil, L’viv, and Khmel’nyts’kyy. Aside from providing these children with basic physiological needs, it is also important to create the conditions for their spiritual, creative and psycho-social development.
Young people also receive information, psychological and legal counselling.
“We included not only young people from this project but also children from the social centre. In this way we helped them overcome the barriers they set up between each other: age differences, psychological, and social differences. They realized that a team can only win if each person on it plays a role. Some ran very quickly, others were stronger, still others had a better knowledge of Ukrainian history, and others were amazingly inventive and agile.
During the games the children learned a lot about themselves and others. They learned to show support for others and how to encourage others. Their teamwork brought joy to them and to the event organizers,” says Olya Khil’ko, an employee of the local Caritas.
After the close of the athletic competitions, the participants were treated to real Kozak food—kulish (Kozak porridge) with drippings, while the judges made their final tallies. First awards were given to children for specific contests. The real surprise was when they announced that the two teams had obtained the same total points. Because they tied for first prize—a trip to see the movie Puss in Boots—each child that participated in Kozak Games will go to see the movie!