Ukrainian Child Refugee drawing titled

Supplied with pencils, paper, paints, and brushes, Karine Munk Finser, Director of CfA’s newly founded Kairos Institute, flew to Scandinavia in mid-March to welcome Ukrainian refugees into her parents’ empty cottage on the Danish island of Bornholm and to begin administering a program of acute healing therapy to mothers and their young children.

A licensed art therapist in the U.S., Karine was following up on her mother’s initiative to open her summer home to Ukrainian families seeking refuge on this Baltic island. Beyond housing and basic needs, Karine is offering them a therapeutic program based on “Emergency Pedagogy” pioneered by Bernd Ruf from the Parzival Zentrum in Germany. This program is designed to bring healing artistic elements of Waldorf education to traumatized children and their parents whose lives have been upended by war or natural catastrophes.
A seven-year-old girl captured her feeling of release after fleeing her native Ukraine in a drawing she called, “Girl Crossing the Border”. Karine writes, “Notice the darkened sun, the dying flowers on the left, the empty darkness, the deep sorrowful world where everything weeps. The transition is beautifully marked with the dark clouds changing to white clouds and the sun’s return. The rainbow, eternal expression of hope and belonging. The greens, life returning. Most importantly, notice how the girl in the drawing stands and sadly watches the darkness but then, as she crosses the border, she begins to lighten.”
Karine, who is also Director of Transdisciplinary Studies in Healing Education at Antioch University New England, will spend the rest of this month with Ukrainian mothers and their children on Bornholm, a remote island located east of Denmark in the Baltic Sea between Poland and the southern coast of Sweden.
Bernd Ruf is scheduled to bring his multi-year training in “Emergency Pedagogy” for teachers and art therapists to CfA’s Kairos Institute in Wilton, New Hampshire, starting this summer as part of the Institute’s new program of Waldorf pedagogy through the healing arts. Details of this program can be found here.
Those wishing to help Waldorf schools and their families in Ukraine can make donations directly to the Friends of Waldorf Education (Freunde der Erziehungskunst), which has already mobilized a worldwide network of financial and logistic support via its secure website here.