The earthquake that shook Nepal a week ago rendered several children homeless and orphaned. Even though the media was stormed with the miraculous survival of a four month old baby, countless other children have been displaced and distanced from their parents. NGOs have rushed to help the people with the immediate focus on survival, attending to the injured and cremating the dead. But what about the child who is crying for his mother, what about the boy who was playing with his father when the building crushed and what about those young ones who still babble, seeking their mother’s bosom for comfort and care.
Numerous such children have been affected by this calamity. Recovering from the disaster may be a lifelong journey for some of them. Even though the physical needs of the child may be met right now through various social sector organizations and state initiatives in coming months, yet his or her psychological growth and well-being would be impacted because of this disaster.
Quite often children who have suffered this trauma in an early age tend to exhibit symptoms such as insomnia, flashbacks, anxiety, panic, dismal mood, and thoughts of suicide, a deep sense of loneliness or abandonment or profess excessive amounts of hyperactivity and energy that may seem difficult to channelize. These behavioral indicators are a reflection of the tragedy they have suffered.
HOW DO I RESPOND WHEN I SEE A CHILD AFFECTED SO DEEPLY? WHAT DO I SAY TO HIM OR HER?
Just be natural! Hug the child if you want to, shake hands if you wish to, smile at him or her with a genuine heart and convey to them that you care. Children, when they have suffered something so deep and traumatic respond with the same uncertainty and confusion as an adult may, except they lack the means to communicate their pain coherently in words.
The need of the hour is to understand the plight of these children, their incommunicable suffering and to offer them a space of comfort and security. It is impossible to undo the trauma they have suffered but as individuals, every child who experiences such devastation seeks safety, understanding as well as presence and experience of adult affection.
Disclaimer: Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog writer.