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Bringing the life of Yemeni children back to normal

UNICEF Yemen/2018
© UNICEF Yemen/2018
A group of displaced children in Saqeen district.

Sa’ada, Yemen, 29 August 2018 - The conflict has made Yemen a living hell for children and their families. Over 11 million children – 80 per cent of all girls and boys in the country – require humanitarian assistance and more than 2 million people have been displaced since the beginning of the conflict in March 2015. In this context, psychosocial support is crucial to help children overcome this extremely dire situation and the traumas caused by the war.

Every day, UNICEF and its implementing partners are striving to bring back a sense of normality in children’s lives in conflict-affected areas across the country.

Anas is one of these children that has been severely traumatized by the increase in violence and repeated strikes in Sa’ada governorate. The first time the caseworker met him, the 7-year-old boy was suffering from bedwetting, because he was too afraid to leave his bed to go to the bathroom at night. His parents took him to a doctor but further tests showed that Anas was not suffering from any physical condition.

His lower school performance and isolation were other symptoms of his depressed state and the pediatrician decided to refer the boy to a psychologist.

With the support of UNICEF, the social workers of the Case Management System of Sa’ada carried out several psychosocial therapy sessions with Anas so he could express his fears and learn how to control emotions that he was too young to experience, through drawing and other counselling techniques.

With the support of his family, Anas was closely followed by the caseworker, under direct supervision of the psychologist, to overcome his trauma, through adapted guidance and enrollment at the nearest Child Friendly Space. The caseworker also supported the parents and the teachers in finding the best tools to help Anas find some stability by restoring the daily routine his family used to have before the war.

“We equipped Anas’s parents and teachers with technical skills and knowledge to be able to support him better in overcoming his trauma,” said the caseworker.

Thanks to the remedial sessions, Anas’ state positively changed and the symptoms of his trauma gradually faded. The young boy started to interact better with his peers his grades at school improved.

Child protection and psychosocial support activities are implemented by UNICEF in Yemen, thanks to the support of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

* Name has been changed to protect the child’s identity.



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