The target groups of War Child's Little Star programme are children living as IDPs in Ingushetia and in Chechnya, who are
traumatized as a result of the wars in Chechnya.
The nineteen Little Star points in Chechnya and Ingushetia will each target 60 children per month, totalling 1200 children per month.
The children will be from age 7 to 14 inclusive.
Specific Objectives and project purpose:
- Continued psychological rehabilitation work with traumatized children in Chechnya and Ingushetia.
The children will take part in simulation games and art, music and drama therapy
activities. The War Child/CPCD counsellors have a range of further skills to complement the programme, including psychodrama, neuro-linguistic
programming, individual counselling and relaxation exercises. Before and after each two week period, diagnostical exercises are conducted with the children to
assess their condition. Children with a high remaining level of need and stress are invited to stay for a further two-week intensive period. All children who have
finished intensive programmes at Little Star centres are invited back at particular times during each week to talk with Little Star staff and join in activities similar to
those they participated in earlier. This ongoing contact, and positive point of reference for the children in otherwise bleak living conditions, is a very valuable part of the programme.
Each Little Star point, whether it be in tents in the IDP camps in Ingushetia or school rooms used in village schools in Chechnya, is staffed by two to three
Little Star psychologists and/or counsellors. Three groups of children attend each point every day. From 9.00-11.00 children aged 7 to 9 attend; 11.15-13.15, 10 to 12 years olds, and 13.45 to 15.45, 13 to 15 year olds.
The structure and principles behind Little Star are set out in detail in the Little Star manual Psychological Rehabilitation Children Traumatized by War, drawing
from our experiences of working from 1996-1999 inclusive.
- Provision of a safe space for children living in extremely difficult and stressful conditions.
The children are also offered individual consultations. Groups of children are selected according to age and level of trauma, in consultation with parents and
teachers in the makeshift camp schools with which we have close contact. The most seriously afflicted children have the opportunity to see a professional psychiatrist for additional consultation.
Games and play therapy form the basis of the work with children, helping them to develop inter-personal communication skills and enabling them to feel that they
are in a safe space with adults who support and respect them. This develops confidence and self respect, and gives them strength to deal with their situation.
Feedback on the effects of the time spent at Little Star is usually very forthcoming from the children themselves and from their parents.
- Intensive psychological rehabilitation periods/ rest breaks for most needy children at a sanatorium in Kabardino-Balkaria
The psychological rehabilitation periods for children at a sanatorium in Kabardino-Balkaria are an opportunity for consolidation of work conducted in the
Little Star centres, offered mainly to children with particularly high levels of stress and trauma. Often a total change of environment is important for such children to
recover significantly. Full medical check-ups can also be conducted there, and treatment arranged if required.
- Work with parents and teachers in temporary IDP schools on recognizing and supporting traumatized children.
Many of the parents of children attending the Little Star programme approach
Little Star psychologists and counsellors in order to request help themselves. They fell stressed, their nerves are on edge, and they are often impatient towards
their children. Parents strongly feel the need for help in dealing with their own stresses and traumas, and parents who understand the treatment that their
children are receiving will be better able to continue assisting the child in the healing process, following their participation in the psychosocial programme.
Parents are made welcome in the Little Star centres, and time is put aside after sessions to explain to them the work being conducted, and how they could
continue to assist the children in the home environment. Many of the Little Star centres are beside IDP schools in the camps, and Little Star points are working
in school building inside Chechnya. Training seminars are held by Little Star counsellors and psychologists with these teachers, to increase their awareness
of ways to assist the children in dealing with stress, and to diagnoze children with particular needs to be referred to the Little Star centre.
- Continuation of War Child/CPCD's intensive training programme for Little Star staff and others working in the field of psychological rehabilitation for children, creating a pool of well-trained, qualified
professionals for the long-term benefit of the project and the region as a whole.
Training seminars in these and other specialist areas are held once every two months with guest experts, to develop the skills of Little Star staff and other
practitioners. Monthly seminars are held by experienced Little Star psychologists for new staff.
Recognizing that one of the most vulnerable groups of IDPs is older children and
adolescents, War Child plans to start a programme to teach them professional skills, which will be useful not only in their future professional lives, but which will also contribute to their self-realization.
The Little Star tents are unoccupied every day from 15.45, when the psycho-social rehabilitation work with the children finishes, and at the weekends.
Space is therefore already available to carry out such activities (2 tents in the Bart tent camp, 3 tents in the wagon camps Tupik 1, 2, 3 and one tent in the
Severnaya Tochka camp). Each course will last a maximum of 3 months, each session will last a maximum of 2.5 hours and the number of sessions a week will depend on the type of activity.
We plan to organize the following courses and activities: television/radio repairs, knitting, sewing, English language, First aid.
Conduct mines awareness activity with all children attending the Little Star programme
Landmines have been layed throughout Chechnya during the first and this second current war. In Grozny, 3 to 4 people step on mines each day on
average, and many cases are recorded in the villages also. A high proportion of mine victims are children. Therefore, War Child/CPCD plans to employ two
people full-time to conduct mines awareness work with all the children attending Little Star points in Chechnya and Ingushetia. This includes role play and similar
exercises to stimulate discussion about the dangers of mines, and how such danger can best be avoided. UNICEF provides War Child/CPCD with posters and leaflets in Russian and Chechen languages for this purpose.