‘Children’s spring’ centre
‘We aim to make kids smile’
‘Children’s spring’ centre has been founded by a group of Syrian activists, established on March, 2013 and located in Duma city. This centre attempts to provide long-term humanitarian care and constant assistance to children who suffer from the negative side-effects of war.
The centre’s operational aim was to make children smile. Therefore, a programme of consecutive sessions of psychological support was offered to children aged between five to twelve years. At the beginning of this programme, the centre has welcomed a number of 600 children separated into eleven groups.
The project was meant to be free- charged and completely independent from any political organization. It was Initially responsible for building the sufficient capacity of some young cadres who have the potential to be psychological experts and to work under pressure. Pre-service training sessions were offered to those who volunteered to be part of the staff. They were supervised by some psychiatrists and social experts in Duma city, supported by the Syrian revolutionary relief centre.
Hanan, one of the founders describes the mechanism on which this project was based and run. She states that this Centre provides a number of sessions, each of which consists of two stages. The first one is considered to be a documentation stage; where every child should have an application form to be filled in. This form includes basic information about the child’ family members and situation. This information is of a great help; it can illuminate the child’s exact problems so that they can be sorted out effectively. For instance, problems related to children fear or panic attacks caused by bombardment or deprivation of social activities can be overcome by some certain activities .Those activities basically aim to reinforce the interactional environment among children. Therefore, a graphic art session might be delivered in which children can express their feelings by painting on each other faces for example.
The second stage is more focused on children whose psychological suffer is caused by losing one of family members or being exposed to daily violent actions or images. It is completely supervised by psychiatrists and social experts. Hanan describes one of the cases; it is Nour, who keeps drawing her family members ‘holding each other hands’. She also refuses her father’s death and keeps asking her mom for an alternative father since ‘all kids have their own fathers’.
Hanan says that the centre has special programmes for Nour and many other similar cases.
Feedback on each kid’s statement is given after the completion of the two stages. This feedback generates from comparing each kid’s profile pre and after taking the designed sessions. Thereafter, a full report is offered to illustrate the extent to which each child has psychologically improved.
At the end of the tenth session, the centre organised a supporting seminar for parents. The aim was to discuss the mechanisms that help cope with the psychological repercussions on children in disastrous conditions. The centre also provided a session for children with special needs On April, 2013 in Duma city.
However, there are many difficulties the centre faces. Firstly, the lack of capacity and staffing; there is only a few number of specialists who are supposed to follow up with a huge number of cases. Secondly, children’s lives are in danger due to the daily shelling on Duma city. The last but not the least is the lack of the financial support which fosters the centre’s effective help.
It is worth saying that Duma city has been under siege since nearly a year. It has also been shelled repeatedly since the Free Syrian Army was in control of it.