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Psychosocial Services for children affected by the earthquake and continued aid distribution

It has been several months since the earthquake hit and the people affected are still dealing with the aftermath. Those who are fortunate enough to have the means and resources are currently rebuilding their homes, while those not so fortunate have either moved in with their relatives or are waiting for the government to rebuild their homes, all while still living in tents. YUM continues to provide relief support to families living in shelters and have started trauma healing sessions for children. We are eternally grateful for the support that we have received from the Priscilla Hall Memorial Foundation.

Psychosocial Support Services training.

In January, YUM staff in Cipanas along with community representatives—from neighbourhood association coordinators, relief post coordinator, humanitarian volunteers, to women volunteer health workers (kader) and women community leaders—attended Psychosocial Support Services training to equip themselves with the skills necessary in supporting the children affected by the earthquake to deal with their trauma. The 3-day training was delivered by two trainers from the Child Protection Academy, Mr. Suratman and Mrs. Dewi..

The training provided extensive knowledge from understanding the purpose and aim of trauma healing, the principles, ethics and skills in working with children as well as a comprehensive 6-topics of discussion to be delivered to children to help them deal with trauma caused by the disaster.

The topics include:

  1. Natural Disasters. Objective: To provide an understanding of disasters
  2. Sense of Security. Objective: Identify the need for security, a place, and a party that can provide a sense of security
  3. My story. Objective: To provide opportunities for children to express their unpleasant experiences during an earthquake
  4. Dealing with Disturbing Thoughts & Feelings. Objective: Explore the thoughts and feelings of the child, and how to deal with them.
  5. Protect Yourself from Earthquakes
  6. Protect Yourself from Violence

On the last day of the training, participants practiced what they had learned in groups. Then, the training was concluded by making a scheduled plan for the implementation of the trauma healing sessions in each area.

The YUM team, together with community representative from their respective villages worked out a plan to deliver the trauma healing for children in 7 villages (Cibureum, Legok Sebe, Buniaga, Tunggilis, Ciherang Panembong, and Ciherang Kaler) over the course of 3 weeks.

Trauma healing for children and relief aid distribution.

The YUM team together with community representatives have started to implement the Psychosocial Support Services and deliver the trauma healing to children in each village.

Structured trauma healing sessions were delivered to school children in grades 3 to 9 because cognitively they are more mature and are able to follow the trainers’ directions. Meanwhile, for children in early childhood learning, kindergarten, grades 1 and 2, the activities are conducted in a more recreational nature through drawing, colouring, learning English, and singing.

The trauma healing implementation also coincided with the distribution of aid. While still working on other projects, the YUM staff take turns to deliver the support on the ground for those affected by the earthquake.

During the trauma healing sessions, the children are divided in small groups and are asked to describe what a disaster means to them. Some prefer telling a story through drawing, while others tell their stories verbally. In certain locations, the children are still quite affected and it was harder to get children to share their stories.

A particular village has the most affected children (Kampung Tunggilis), and until today, they feel safer studying and doing activities in tents compared to buildings. So, the trauma healing activities are carried out in the kindergarten yard which has a tarpaulin roof.

Most children enjoy participating in the trauma healing sessions because they can be as creative as they like and play with friends, but there are a handful of children who, when they have to remember the earthquake, feel afraid of more aftershocks.

So far, we have reached approximately 450 children in 7 villages and distributed relief kits to over 1500 people in over 300 families

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