Sunflower Summer Camp Provides Haven for Ukrainian Refugee Children in Warsaw

Warsaw, 2024 – Sunflower Summer Camp, dedicated to supporting Ukrainian refugee children, is marking its third year of operation. The camp, which runs for eight weeks with four two-week sessions, has enrolled 230 children aged 2-16 this year, with a waiting list reflecting high demand.

“We specifically chose an amazing Ukrainian staff, many of whom are here for a second summer,” says Ellen Wasserson, a key organizer. “We have had them certified as teachers in Poland, which enables future employment.” The camp’s experienced Polish administrative staff ensures smooth and efficient operations.

The camp’s program focuses on a balance of activities including art and film workshops, educational and fun field trips, games, and playful learning that builds self-esteem, fosters curiosity, encourages problem-solving, and promotes hands-on creativity. Children also participate in dancing, singing, and sports, all under the watchful eyes of caring, experienced teachers.

“We aim to create a supportive environment where children learn to be kind, share, and work together in groups,” Wasserson explains. “Older children divide into teams to produce their own movies, using computers and phones to write, act, edit, and film.”

Sunflower Summer Camp emphasizes building supportive relationships among Ukrainian children and teachers, fostering a sense of community despite the dispersed living situations in Warsaw. The goal is to help children build confidence and resilience while having fun and maintaining their Ukrainian pride and connections.

The camp also provides psychological support to children, parents, and teachers, all of whom have experienced trauma. Nutritional needs are met with provided breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

The Ukrainian Embassy to Poland has recognized Sunflower Summer Camp’s impactful work by granting it official Patronage and honoring Gary, one of the organizers, with a special medal.

Sunflower Summer Camp continues to be a beacon of hope and joy for Ukrainian refugee children, offering a safe and nurturing environment to thrive.