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Coping with the horrors of the conflict in Yemen

UNICEF Yemen/2018
© UNICEF Yemen/2018
A boy skips rope during a psychosocial support session. UNICEF supports such sessions to help children overcome the horrors of the conflict in Yemen.

22 March 2018 - 12-year old Mohammed lives with his parents and two siblings in Hajjah city. He is in 4th grade. An airstrike hit a gas station right next to his home during the night and awakened the whole family. The strong sound of explosion scared the whole family but Mohammed was the most impacted.

Out of fear, Mohammed started urinating involuntarily during the night, and developed speaking difficulty. He also started showing signs of severe distress such as keeping to himself alone and avoiding to play with his peers.

Social workers in the area who have been trained on providing psychosocial support to children visited Mohammed and his family. They provided individual counseling to the child and passed on the knowledge and skills to his parents on how to handle Mohammed. It wasn’t long before Mohammed started participating in the activities of the nearby child friendly space (CFS). He now enjoys drawing, playing football and telling stories.

Following two months of frequent interventions with Mohammed, he is back to normal life with no more speaking difficulties or involuntary urination.

As the conflict in Yemen enters its third year, children continue to be exposed to extreme violence, and distressing experiences, resulting in immense psychological distress. With the generous support of donors, such as the Government of Japan, UNICEF is providing essential psychosocial support for girls and boys across the country in fixed and mobile child friendly spaces.



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