Fairy tales overcome borders :
The war in Ukraine has triggered the largest movement of refugees since the end of World War II in Europe. Millions of people have left their country since February 2022. People of them are fleeing within Ukraine, including many children and young people.
So far, almost 1.1 million refugees have been registered in Germany. Among them, around 360,000 children and young people have found refuge here. Many of them have already experienced the fighting in Ukraine that has been going on since 2014.
Some of the children and young people have experienced bombing raids and had to seek shelter in cellars before fleeing the war. They have seen their destroyed homes and witnessed bombing raids. They had to leave their homes, family members and pets and they could not take anything from their homes. They are homesick. They don't know if and when they can come home again, when they will see their homeland again.
The fighting has not only cost many lives, it has destroyed the future of countless families, especially children.
The circumstances under which the refugees came to Germany were painful and will continue to shape their future. Many children have experienced terrible things and are traumatized by the war and the flight. Some children have lost everything due to the attacks, some have had to witness the death of relatives and friends. A normal childhood was and is not possible for them. They now have to deal with the wounds and scars caused by the war of aggression and overcome their emotional trauma.
The children and young people are now faced with the difficult task of having to find their way in a new life: a new language, strange people, a completely different life without their families, friends, pets. This great task now lies ahead of them.
I would like to make a contribution so that the refugee children can come to terms with the war and flight and the traumatizing experiences and arrive in their new lives. Together with the association Theater Weites Feld e.V., I will give refugee children from Ukraine a few carefree hours in which they can gather strength and relax a little. In which they can occupy themselves with beautiful things and be creative.
With our idea we offer the fled families a positive, peaceful, hopeful approach to master their everyday life in a foreign culture.
We invite the Ukrainian and German children to take fairy tale books in their hands, look at them together, read them and put their own ideas about what they have seen on a piece of paper with colored pencils. Our concept therefore also includes providing tables in the exhibition rooms with paper, drawing pencils and handicraft materials, where the children can give free rein to their creativity in a supervised manner. The children will also have the opportunity to express their ideas, thoughts and feelings together in small theater performances.
By fleeing to another world, to another culture, children and young people are also deprived of their cultural and historical roots. It is important that the children remember their cultural roots, do not forget them, because they are part of their lives.
Fairy tales are a big part of all cultures. They are so important for the development of children. Fairy tales convey values and rules, they give strength and provide solutions to conflicts. In fairy tales, good always triumphs.
Fairy tales have a magical power that acts on the human soul like a balm. It calms, gives hope and provides optimistic thoughts. The tales handed down over the centuries in the form of fairy tales read to children possess magic. These tales in childhood can accompany us throughout our lives. Thus, fairy tales in childhood can become the first voyages of discovery into our childish soul life. Fairy tales as a key to oneself and thus discover the world with a lot of imagination. Fairy tales are not bound to time and place. The typical opening formula is: "Once upon a time...". It thus opens the imagination as infinitely as the universe.
I will contribute to our project a part of my collected GDR children's books from the fairy tale world, here mainly from the former Soviet countries, as well as some of my pictures and collages.
In October, we will give children time and space in Potsdam and the Brandenburg area to immerse themselves in the world of fairy tales and take away new ideas for their everyday lives.