Context: Earthquake response
- To provide psychosocial support and the opportunity for children to deal with their reactions to the earthquake and build resilience to respond to future disasters
Why this project?
Following the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, most of the homes in the villages where CarNet Nepal works were damaged or destroyed, as well as school buildings and other infrastructure. There were also significant child protection risks for children in these communities, including a risk of trafficking, an issue the network has been working on for many years.
Operation Safe trained 50 church volunteers in Nuwakot and Kathmandu, who learned how to provide psychological first aid counselling to children and how to run the Operation Safe programme in schools, evacuation camps and child friendly spaces.
Operation Safe is a five-day activity camp which introduces one key idea per day, which is then reinforced by games and activities. The programme takes children through the story of ‘Pete’, a penguin separated from his family who finds ways to deal with his experience through the friends he meets along the way. The process gives children space to deal with their experiences in a safe place as they explore one key idea each day, reinforced with activities and resources and delivered in the local language. The programme seeks to provide a fun and child-like approach to recovering from trauma. It includes games, crafts, snacks, story and Bible stations that children pass through in each session. The key messages include: ‘I am not alone’, ‘everyone is important’ and ‘be strong and courageous’.
CarNet Nepal linked the Operation Safe programme with other child protection work to help address wider protection concerns – including creating child friendly spaces, awareness training for communities about trafficking, and child protection community groups (comprising where possible one teacher, one church leader and one community leader) to address child protection issues in the community.
Operation Safe camps not only help the children themselves to recover from trauma, return to school and build resilience toward future catastrophes, but also create a bond between local child protection volunteers and the children. CarNet Nepal, working with local child protection officials, trains the Operation Safe volunteers to meet regularly with the children, report on their condition, and make it more difficult for traffickers to target those who are neglected or are not attending school.