Trauma Curriculum for Children after Disaster
The OperationSAFE child trauma curriculum is based on a program that is very familiar to many children’s ministries around the world, the vacation bible school (VBS) format. This makes it very easy to train local leaders rapidly after a disaster. Because it is modular, it is possible to train volunteers quickly and effectively to do only one or two tasks. The majority of the volunteers are leaders for a small group of children that can even be youth from the same community. As they help the children recover from trauma they also benefit from greater understanding of their own psychological journey and by being part of recovery for their community.
Teaching Trauma Recovery the Way Children Learn
Each day of the OperationSAFE camp teaches one theme of trauma recovery through cute characters, engaging activities, interesting stories, delicious snacks, catchy songs, fun games and memorable Bible stories. Children are excited to come back to the camp each day so that they won’t miss out on all the fun! We have heard many children exclaim during OpSAFE that it was, “the most fun I ever had!”
Each station has a manual with a script for the leader, preparation guide, step by step instructions for the activities and explanations how it supports the overall theme for the day. A three-day training manual for leaders and the OperationSAFE Child Trauma Field Manual for volunteers help educate local leaders on normal responses to trauma, Post-traumatic stress and how to care for themselves and their team as well as the children.
Localization into the Children’s Heart Language
We work with local volunteers to adapt everything into the language that is most effective with the children in the program. So far OperationSAFE has been held in many dialects including Sichuanese, Tibetan, Japanese, Korean, Haitian Kreole, Tagalog, Waray, Cebuano and English. OpSAFE works very well with communities that have oral traditions as well as with communities with high literacy rates.