Helping Children Cope with the Aftermath of War

Introducing Magic Mitten: A digital app based on storytelling with interactive exercises to help children cope with fear, loss, and painful memories, supporting social and emotional learning.

Downloadable, printable Magic Mitten books:

What is The Magic Mitten?

Engaging Digital Game

The Magic Mitten is an engaging digital game designed to help children affected by war.

Based on Research

The concept of The Magic Mitten is based on evidence-based research on social and emotional learning and coping strategies for children.

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Tools for Coping

The Magic Mitten offers a variety of tools to help children cope with challenges such as loss, fear, and painful memories.

Storytelling and Illustrations

The Magic Mitten is based on a Ukrainian fairy tale and illustrated by Bíbor Timko, making it a unique and enjoyable experience for children.

Why is Social and Emotional Learning Important for Children Who Have Experienced War?

The Helping Hand fosters emotional regulation and flexible problem-solving in challenging situations.

Every day there are new games to find in the playground! 

How The Magic Mitten Can Help Children?

The Magic Mitten app provides children with valuable tools to help them cope with stress and adversity. 

It can be used in several ways: by the children alone or accompanied by their parents, creating room for meaningful conversations that might not occur otherwise. It can also be used in group sessions led by a facilitator.

The authors

dr. Hesna Al Ghaoui

dr. Hesna Al Ghaoui is an award-winning television journalist, speaker, former war correspondent, resilience trainer and communication expert on mental health. She is the author of four books, with a special interest in fear and resilience. She worked as a journalist and filmmaker in more than twenty countries, including armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza strip, Darfur. Based on her experiences on the frontline and on numerous interviews she made with researchers, she started to study the emotion of fear. Her book “Fear Bravely” (2017) explores the power of fear from physiological, social and psychological angles. She also wrote two children’s books on this topic, focusing on ways to cope with fear, in the form of a tale. She studied post-traumatic growth at UC Berkeley’s Institute of Personality and Social Research with a Fulbright scholarship. Currently she is based in Budapest, working on her fifth book, about ways to grow from adversities.

Dr. Solfrid Raknes

Clinical Psychologist, Researcher and Innovator

Solfrid is the driving force behind prize winning, evidence based cognitive behavioral tools (CBT) to children and adolescents. Her PhD focused on prevention of mental health disorders through CBT to adolescents. For two decades she has lectured extensively in a variety of health- and school-systems, the first decade in Norway, the last decade across countries. Raknes is involved in a wide spectrum of humanitarian and research projects focused on improving children and youth mental health, and reducing poverty. Winner of World Economic Forum 2022´s Youth Mental Health Challenge for her work with Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Now she is splitting her time between work in Tanzania, Lebanon, Jordan, Ukraine, and Norway.

Raknes S (2023). Folkehelse og livsmestring for flyktningbarn., Available here.

Bíbor Timkó

Illustrator, Graphic Designer, Painter

Bíbor is an artist and graphic designer based in Budapest. She studied painting at Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma and has a textile designer degree from MOME Budapest. Her activities, which you can follow at , are still wide-ranging after graduation. Bibor's award-winning illustrations are witty, eye-catching and joyful. Her hand-drawn line works are usually combined with digital colors.

“I strive to create images which illuminate and elucidate, transmit energy, both in content and form; I try to use the power of the visual language to condense information, act on the subconscious and create associations."


What Our Users Are Saying

Here’s what some of our users have to say about The Magic Mitten app:

App Screens

Frequently Asked Questions

First read or listen to the story of the day, and when you are finished, the tools and the exercises will unlock for that day! Complete these tools and exercises, and once you have completed all of the seven days, try to return to the playground once a week to repeat the tools and exercises!

The Magic Mitten is a mobile app designed for Ukrainian children affected by war. It teaches social and emotional learning skills, such as coping strategies and relaxation techniques.

The app can help your child cope with challenges such as loss, fear, and painful memories. It also provides tools to help friends and family.

The app was created by Dr. Solfrid Raknes and Dr. Hesna Al Ghoui, with illustrations by Boibor Timko.

Yes, the app is free to download and use.

The app is primarily designed for children, but adults may also find it helpful.

Yes, the app can be used offline once it has been downloaded.

The app is designed to be used over a period of weeks, with short daily exercises. The exact duration may vary depending on usage.

Yes, the app can be used in a classroom setting, and has been successfully implemented in schools.

Yes, the app is based on research into social and emotional learning and support for children affected by war.

The app is available for download on the App Store and Google Play.

Warm gratitude to all of you who have contributed! 

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to each one of you for your invaluable contributions to the Magic Mitten project. Your dedication and hard work have been instrumental in bringing this psychosocial support program to life and making a significant difference in the lives of many children.

To our translators, Katerina Kurbatova and Khaled Jasem, your skill and diligence in translating from English to Ukrainian and Arabic have been vital in ensuring a tool for children who can benefit from this tool! Thank you to Prof. Linda Sussman for proofreading the English text, and for very valuable feedback and encouraging support! Thank you to Alma Richeh, LL.M. for proofreading the Arabic text, and for her support for the whole project! Huge thank you for the Hungarian translation to Fatima Homor and for her wonderful language and translating institution, Magyarország Több Nyelven Beszél!

Our proofreaders, Nadiya Makushinka, Mohammad Haidar, Hugert Szvetlána, Zsófia Timer and others, your keen eyes and attentive ears have ensured the quality and effectiveness of our materials. Your commitment to perfection has been a cornerstone in maintaining the integrity of our program.

To the pilots at the School Health Services at Notodden – Ruth Steinmoen Kåsa, Cora Ebner, and Tone Ragnhild Ryen – your efforts in facilitating The Magic Mitten at Tveiten Skole in Norway have been nothing short of remarkable. You have opened doors for Ukrainian children, offering them support and comfort in challenging times.

Mohammad Haidar, your work as a psychologist in Lebanon, using the Magic Mitten with Syrian refugees, orphans, and children with disabilities, is truly commendable. Your application of our program in such critical environments has amplified its impact and has brought hope to many young hearts.

To the knitters, Oddveig, Astrid, Kathrin from Heimstadkjær in Midsund and Helena from Solidaritetsnøster: Thank you sincerely for your skilled and loving knitting of warm, delightful mittens. Your work has brought comfort and joy to many, weaving threads of care and community with each stitch. Your dedication and talent are truly appreciated.

And last but certainly not least, to all the children who have participated and shared their honest feedback – you are the heart of this project. Your insights and experiences are what drive us forward and remind us of the importance of our work.

Thank you all for your exceptional contributions, your passion, and your belief in the power of The Magic Mitten. Together, we are making a difference in the world, one child at a time.

To the web designer and developer who created this wonderful webpage on a volunteer basis to support the children affected by war with his amazing skills, thank you Márton Tóth!

Huge thanks to Bálint Antal, Imre Rácz and the amazing team of Riltech software engineering company, whose expert help was essential in putting the app into the Apple and Play stores, and who are so kind to support us in maintaining the app!

And we cannot be thankful enough for the amazing team members of Nagarro, who worked so many hours on this project and put their heart and passion into creating the app version of the Magic Mitten!