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Recovering from the storm: “It may rain but the sun will come out again"

Recovering from the storm: “It may rain but the sun will come out again”

Gloria Brewer is one of 26 facilitators trained in the UNICEF-supported “Return to Happiness“ programme which helps children deal with trauma through play-related and creative activities. Here are her thoughts during her first session with Barbudan children evacuated to Antigua in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The training was very exciting. It’s child friendly and I think it will be impactful not only to the children but the adults. It reinforces the need to be in touch with yourself and make sure that you’re emotionally ready to provide the services for young people. You’re trying to help the child return to a sense of normalcy and to experience hope for the future, saying: “Even though you’ve been through a traumatic event, it will get better.”

A puppy, a pigeon and a sheep

Right now we’re doing storytelling, painting, artwork and songs. I asked some of the children what they wanted for themselves. One little boy told me about his puppy and his pigeon and his sheep. He just hopes that when he gets back to Barbuda he can find them. That’s his biggest hope. Not all the children will speak and it’s important not to push them and let them tell their stories in their own time. I personally feel that in order for you to move on you have to recognise that loss has occurred. It’s a physical loss, it’s an emotional loss and you need to deal with that. And the gift about children is their resilience. They give you hope that things are going to get better and as adults we need to foster that within them, and within ourselves. It may rain but the sun will come out again. I’m getting something out of it too. I’ll do this for the duration of the programme. It’s not a one-time event, we also need to look at the long term. For me it’s about giving the children tools to help them when we’re not there. Children have a way of self-soothing and we want to teach them appropriate ways to do that, to look to the future with hope rather than fear.

 

 
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