Maryna is a PE-teacher from Chernivtsi, a city in the West of Ukraine that has been the destination for many internally displaced people since the war has started. With her sport activities, Maryna tries to integrate the new children at her school and at the same time help them coping with their trauma from the war.

My Story

“My name is Maryna, I am from Chernivtsi, a city in the West of Ukraine where I work as a PE teacher. I am actually a lawyer because my parents believed that sport is not a real profession. In Chernivtsi it is very popular to be a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer or an economist. However, when I was working as a lawyer and sitting behind the computer the whole day, I realized that this work environment is just not suitable for me. When I was a student myself, I always loved to be active and to do sports. Therefore, I quit my job as a lawyer and studied physical education to become a PE-teacher. The kids are my motivators, my role models and my inspiration. I love my work with the children because even though I am getting older, they keep me young. I get to move around a lot and never sit in one spot.

The war in Ukraine has posed a big challenge for us teachers in Chernivtsi. More than 60’000 displaced people came to the city and many children joined our schools. We had to make a plan how to get the new children involved, how to integrate them and how to adapt them to their new environment. A lot of kids are traumatized by the war and need support: when they hear an airplane, sirens or other sounds they hide themselves.

This is why I am really glad to do this Young Coach Education and to learn how to deal with these kids.

I really liked the lecture on trauma sensitive pedagogy for example, because I learned in what way I can speak to the children. I am also going to implement the activities we learnt from the instructors such as icebreakers and games that unite the whole group into mine at school. As a coach I want to give the children the feeling that they can trust me and that they can open-up. I think that sports can help dealing with trauma because you become more open. And this is also what I want to teach the children. Because a lot of kids tend to separate themselves from the group, so I will try to use what I learned here at the Young Coach Education to include all kids and that no one remains left out.”

Quick Facts
  • Young Coach Education in response to the war in Ukraine (2023)
  • League of Tolerance
  • Ukrainian
  • 2 Peer Young Coaches
  • 40 Benefitting Children