War Child Holland strives for the healthy mental development of children who have lived through war, so that they can contribute to a peaceful future. War Child specializes in providing psychosocial assistance to children in former war zones, using creative methods.
Today, War Child Holland employs around 500 field staff. With support from the Head Office in Amsterdam, they work with around 15,000 children per week in 11 countries affected by armed conflict.
Through musical, creative and sports activities children can express their emotions. This helps them to deal with their war experiences and also stimulates personal development and respect for one another. Children learn to play again and can escape the difficulties of their daily lives for a while.
Experiences of war can have disastrous consequences for the development of a child. In the worst case, he or she will become blocked, totally unable to cope with the past, whereupon their cognitive and emotional growth stagnates. War Child develops and supports programmes that are aimed at breaking down these barriers, using creative methods and techniques.
This assistance is not only beneficial for individuals, but can also reunite large groups of children. Creative workshops and sports activities stimulate the integration and acceptance of other children. Through this special form of assistance War Child lays the foundations for a peaceful future in former war zones.
War Child Holland also trains other aid organizations and school teachers around the world to ensure that the creative methodology is increasingly being used to heal children in war zones around the world.
Methodology of War Child Netherlands
Since its foundation in 1995 War Child Netherlands has specialized in providing psychosocial assistance to children who have lived through armed conflicts. ‘Psycho’ refers to the inner world of experience, and ‘social’ to a person’s relationship with their surroundings.
The psychosocial development of a child is more easily guaranteed in a safe and stable environment. There are four important protective factors that play a part: structure, care, the opportunity to play, and the chance to have peaceful relations with others.
Often in the case of war one or more of these protective factors are (temporarily) lost. Many war-affected children are forced to flee, live in uncertainty and fear, and possibly witness acts of violence. When the protective environment restores itself after a war, most children will be able to develop normally. However, in cases where they are not this can lead to psychosocial problems.
Stimulate psychosocial development
Through its programmes, War Child Netherlands strives for the restoration of the protective factors that are vital for the psychosocial development of children. One aspect of this is offering children structured and accompanied games and activities that allow for creative expression through music, drawing, and drama as well as sports.
The aims of these ‘creative workshops’ include the improvement of concentration, self-confidence, co-operation, and relaxation. They can also serve to unite different groups of children, enhancing mutual understanding and respect.
Active involvement of the community
The communities in which the children live are actively involved in the design and implementation of the programmes. War Child Netherlands respects the cultural differences that exist regarding the upbringing of children and the interpretation of their psychosocial problems. These differences are taken into account during the design process, which is not difficult as War Child Netherlands always seeks to collaborate with local people involved in working with children.
War Child Netherlands provides them with training and education, a transferral of knowledge that is vital for our work. Additionally, War Child Netherlands prefers to seek partnership with local organizations for the implementation of programmes, as opposed to direct programme management by War Child staff
PROFILE AND ACTIVITIES
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