Trauma Proofing Syrian and Refugee Children:
A Program for parents, teachers and social workers
(later extended to child refugees from other countries)

Imagine your child is suffering and you do not know what to do and how to help him/her.

Refugee children are frightened because they have seen and experienced things that are difficult to handle even for adults.

Based on a report on mental health of Syrian children, conducted by Save the Children Organization released in 2017, it has been found that 84% of adults and almost all the children surveyed found ongoing bombing and shelling the number one cause of psychological stress89% said that their children has become more anxious and nervous80% said that children and teenagers had become more aggressive. In addition, 71% of children suffer from frequent bedwetting and involuntary urination (both common symptoms of toxic stress and post-traumatic stress disorder), two-thirds of children have lost a loved one, had their house bombed or shelled, or suffered war-related injuries; 51% said adolescents are turning to drugs to cope with the stress, 48% of adults have seen children who have lost the ability to speak or developed speech impediments, 49% said that children regularly or always have feelings of grief or extreme sadness and 78% have these feelings at least some of the time.

Therefore, we are helping parents to help their children.

For this reason, we have adapted and translated into Arabic the book Trauma Proofing Your Kids by P. Levine and M. Kline, written for the parents of traumatized children and caregivers. For those parents who do not have the capacity to read all 271 pages of the book, we have put together a 40-page handbook, containing the most important, but condensed information. We have also created a trauma picture book, presenting the basic principles of working with trauma in images along with simple and accessible text.
At the moment, there are 4 language versions of the publication available –in English, Arabic, Italian and Ukrainian. Thanks to volunteers, we are now working on another 8 language versions (Czech, Dutch, German, French, Russian, Hungarian, Polish and Romanian). We also cooperate with non-profit Syrian organizations that work on the Turkish-Syrian border who will help us get the materials directly to parents, teachers and social workers inside Syria.

How can parents help traumatized children?

Our written materials offer information, advice and activities that help children release the grip and energy of trauma. They were written specifically so that the information they contain can be used by parents, educators and people in a range of caring professions. The books and handbooks are distributed in workshops, during which we present basic key information about trauma to parents and caregivers and show them how to play some of the games and do some of the activities described in the written texts. Each cooperating organization also receives our Trauma Toy Kit and the games and activities contained in it remain at their disposal at the venue.

The book Trauma-Proofing Your Kids focuses on the following topics

• Steps to providing first aid for the prevention and healing of trauma
• Support to parents (information and techniques) to be able to calm down in difficult emotional situations
• Examples of therapeutic children’s games and artistic activities, rhymes and pictures, healing stories
• Grief processing
• Support in providing psychological assistance in catastrophic and mass disasters
• Therapeutic methods for specific situations
• Ways of processing crisis situations in groups
• Ways to activate groups and communities

Our intention is to distribute the above-mentioned materials (1,000 translated books and 10,000 information handbooks) in refugee camps and areas in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, in cooperation with local organizations. For a few selected project leaders, we would also like to provide relevant basic training in trauma support.