In a desert of rubble, ruins, concealed mines, but also a desert of isolation, sad loneliness and silent screams, in Grosny, Barbara and her English friend, Chris Hunter, founded the first rehabilitation centre for traumatized children.
Swodotschka – "Small Star" is what the institution was called. Here there is to be security, light and shelter to give children back the ability to speak, sleep and laughter.
At the end of 1999, bombs fell on the ruined city for the second time. 400,000 people fled to the enormous refugee camps in the neighbouring republic of Ingushetia. In hazardous conditions, Barbara pays regular visits to the children in the refugee camps. With the help of donated funds, she is putting up tents for children in the camps, buying locally what is required and supporting the therapists and nurses in their difficult work. In 2003, the refugee camp was broken up and the people were sent back to Grosny. In Grosny, too, there are "Small Star" places again, in over 25 locations in the mine-infested city. These places are small, temporarily-restored rooms, furnished with love inside ruins. Children from any suburb may visit them. A new house is currently being built as a central refuge and a retreat for children who need special care in addition to that provided by their families.