We’ve heard the stories so many times, none more recently than the war in Ukraine. Millions of children are on the move. Some are driven from their homes by conflict, poverty or climate change; others leave in the hope of finding a better life. Far too many encounter danger, detention, deprivation and discrimination on their journeys, at destination or upon return.

Here in South Wales we have offered support and a welcome to families who made a difficult and heartbreaking journey to set up a new home here. For the children however, settling into a new land comes with many challenges.

Recognising this, TINY TOES BALLET, which runs pre-school ballet classes for children in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Llanelli is offering free sessions to the children of asylum seekers and refugees.

ELEANOR CAPLIKIENE who has run her Tiny Toes franchise in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Llanelli since January 2019, said the new initiative began in response to the plight of asylum seekers from Ukraine but is open to all children from asylum seeker and refugee families……..

“As a team all the Tiny Toes franchisees wanted to do something to help people who have come to the UK with barely any money or belongings,” she said. “We felt it would make sense to offer classes to children from these families. Joining a ballet class is a chance for parents and children to make new friends and to feel part of their local community. We hope it gives them a bit of enjoyment and a sense of connection at what must be a devastating time for them.”

Eleanor Caplikiene – Tiny Toes Ballet

Tiny Toes Ballet is the UK’s first pre-school ballet programme to be fully integrated with the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. It was founded in Swansea in 2011 by EMMA MORGAN, an experienced primary school and ballet teacher, and has grown to have 17 franchises all over the UK. Children can attend from the age of six months to seven years.

Emma told us…….

“I’m very proud of Eleanor for opening her classes to the children of asylum seekers and refugees. Witnessing tragedies such as the war in Ukraine can make us feel very powerless; by offering these free classes we’re hoping that displaced children all over the UK will have a chance to feel welcomed, to play, and to remember how to be children.”

Free classes give displaced children a chance to feel welcomed

Tiny Toes welcomes contact from any charities, councils or individuals who are involved with looking after refugees and asylum seekers, and who might want to help them access these opportunities. Eleanor is also open to travelling to places where refugees and asylum seekers are already gathering or being supported in order to offer classes at a location that suits them.

Anyone interested in arranging classes can contact Eleanor here – eleanor@tinytoesballet.co.uk

And you can find out more about Tiny Toes HERE.