Child traumatic stress is the physical and emotional response a child has to events that pose a threat to the child or someone important to them. When a child experiences trauma directly or vicariously, they may be unable to cope, have feelings of terror and powerlessness, and experience physiological arousal they cannot control. Their reactions may become over-reactive causing hyper arousal or dissociative symptoms and behaviors. This changes the way the child views the world, others, and themselves.
Childhood Trauma Informed Care seeks to help the child reconnect with themselves, others, and the world in a positive way. The trauma experiences the child goes through need not define the child.
Trauma Informed Care is a strengths-based framework that is grounded in an understanding of and responsiveness to the impact of trauma…that emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both providers and survivors…and, that creates opportunities for survivors to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.” (Hopper, Bassuk, & Olivet, 2010)
SOS dedicated team at Erbil has been working very hard in supporting children who have been exposed to horrific experiences. The team works in the camps and is constantly in contact with children whose childhood is nothing to envy. However, the resilience these children and staff demonstrate is remarkable.
We spent some days reinforcing the capacities of the team through training and capacity building. The training was experiential, where the sharing of experiences was so profound that all of us were transformed by this experience. The team has been able to transform so many children`s lives. The following pictures illustrate the reality some of these children have lived.
This drawing is by a 10 year old, who demonstrates how the war destroyed his life. The school rucksack is shattered on the floor, and in the place of books, the evils of terrorism are portrayed as replacing the possibilities and opportunities of learning. For this child, school was very important, and to see everything shattered to pieces was heartbreaking. It demonstrated the hopelessness of the situation.
This other picture illustrates how this 12 year old feels, imprisoned by the trauma she experienced. She feels that her life is behind bars, unable to progress and move on and venture into meaningful life.
However, the dedication of the team working with these children has made it possible for the children to feel whole again. After several sessions characterized by unconditional acceptance and secure attachment, the children have progressed into letting go of their traumatic past, and are willing to face the future with courage and determination. Life has been restored, these children were allowed to be children again, and at last, they can sing the songs they have so yearned to sing. The team has played the role of Auntie Rosie in a remarkable way!
Thank you team for your dedication. Thank you for giving these children a new lease of life. Thank you for the sacrifices. Thank you for being ambassadors of hope and freedom. Thank you for being Auntie Rosie! Please remember to be Auntie Rosie to one another and to yourselves.