For adults the key to recovery from trauma after natural and man-made disasters is to talk about their experience, realize that they share common fears with others and find out that they are not alone. However this is not so easy for children. Traumatic experiences can stay with children and affect their development unless psychological first-aid is provided.
Children in Kalleri Lower Secondary School, Sindhupalchowk Nepal took part in an OperationSAFE psychological first-aid camp for children from July 26th to the 29th. Local volunteers were trained as small group leaders by OpSAFE International partner Ambassador Football Nepal. All homes in the town of Arubot were destroyed by the quakes and even while the camp was being held three aftershocks still shook the region. The Ambassador team stayed in corrugated metal temporary shelters and tents, cooked their food over a wood fire and fetched water from a distance down the hill. Each day the program was held for three hours but the children were very enthusiastic so they came early and left late.
64 children participated in the camp and 16 local volunteers were trained in psychological first-aid for children. Because these volunteers are local they will be able to follow-up with the children and be available when they are ready to share and process more the difficult experience they went through during the disaster. But for now the children and adults of Kalleri school know that they are not alone.