HOTLINE - week of November 2, 2009
Children in Indonesia take part in activities to reduce quake-related trauma; CWS assists people displaced by violence in Pakistan; CWS promotes learning in Mozambique
“He is very curious about what is happening in the tent and he kept asking me to take him here,” says Salmiati of her 16-month-old boy, Alif, as he peers into a tent full of children.
The tent is big enough to hold the 30 children and their mothers, who are taking part in fun and educational activities, or FEAT, a Church World Service created child-friendly program that will help mitigate the trauma they’ve experienced from recent earthquakes in West Sumatra.
“Sari, my daughter, is more clingy and afraid of the dark after the earthquake,” says Salmiati of her ten-year-old daughter.
CWS psychosocial specialist Dessy Susanti points out that each child reacts to trauma differently. Some tend to cling more to their mothers and some wet their bed, while others lose their appetites. Various activities such as drawing and playing in groups help earthquake-affected children to connect with their thoughts and feelings, and to express themselves to relieve stress.
“I can see how this kind of activity can help children forget about their worries. My daughter will definitely join the next session,” says Salmiati, while watching Alif happily draw with crayons on a piece of paper.
The CWS Psychological Support Program consists of 12 thematic FEAT sessions, each of which helps quake-affected children cope with trauma. CWS is implementing FEAT in three villages in Sungai Limau sub-district, West Sumatra.
In response to earthquakes in Indonesia, CWS is also helping to provide food, shelter, disaster preparedness, livelihood training, and non-food items to affected families, and is also helping to improve access to water supplies and sanitation facilities.
More than 139,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from South Waziristan have been registered in the Northwest Frontier Province districts of Dera Ismail Khan and Tank. They fled an offensive begun by the Pakistan military against militant extremists on October 17.
Contingent on funding, CWS plans to work through local partner Support Agency for Rural and Human Association’s Development (SARHAD) to address the emergency food needs of 675 families living with host families in Dera Ismail Khan over the next six weeks. Food packages include wheat flour, beans, cooking oil, sugar, tea, iodized salt and milk powder. Women-headed households, widows, children, elderly and disabled people, and those with special needs receive top priority.
In addition, CWS hopes to provide 5,000 IDPs with household items including hygiene kits and blankets. Health and hygiene education focusing on the importance of disease prevention is also planned for mothers, school children and other community members.
This response is in addition to current relief activities that CWS and partners are providing for people displaced from the Swat Valley in Abbottabad, Haripur, Mardan, Swabi and Buner districts of the North West Frontier Province.
This year, 527 girls (age 10 to 18) in ten communities are attending primary school, learning new skills in after-school programs, and improving their lives and future prospects with the help of PEDRA (the Protection for Girls Education Program), a multi-year program of Church World Service partner the Christian Council of Mozambique.
The girls are encouraged to stay in school, and PEDRA has constructed classrooms in some schools to facilitate extra grades so that girls can advance further in their education. The ten communities in Zambezia Province now have primary education up to grade seven, thanks to PEDRA.
The girls also receive textbooks and assistance with fees, and are mentored by other PEDRA participants. Latrines have also been constructed in some of the schools to improve hygiene and sanitation.
Twelve girls who have graduated from the PEDRA program are now primary school teachers in communities where women are rarely employed as teachers. They are planning to implement the PEDRA program in their communities.
CWS is working with partners in Kenya, Burundi and Mozambique to create safer schools and community environments for at-risk children as part of its School Safe Zones program. PEDRA is a part of this program.