The girl was always quiet. In one of the activities in the children’s workshop, children look at a set of images. The images show several facial expressions, and they are asked to choose which face they feel like most often. This girl picked the sad face. At first, she did not want to talk about the reason.
Sometimes children don’t feel they can share what’s troubling them. Unless a caring adult asks, they suffer in silence. Baby Finds Grace is the children’s story used in the mental health training program. It has two main goals: (1) a direct intervention to help children cope with grief and/or trauma, and (2) practical counseling experience for adult leaders.
Whenever possible, the mental health training program ends with some participants committing to work with children. We’re there as they begin, working through the first chapter of Baby Finds Grace. It’s important that they lead so they can continue the program on their own, after our training facilitators leave. These leaders will continue to work with the same group of children for six more weeks. With these caring leaders, children are able to express thoughts and emotions freely so they can process grief or trauma.
The quiet girl eventually revealed her older brothers were bullying her. Her group’s leader visited the home and talked with her brothers. He taught them how to take care of younger siblings instead of picking on them. Two weeks later, she was a different girl. She was playing and laughing with the other children, interacting, as she had not been able to earlier. Her brothers had stopped bullying her.
Thank you for making these life-changing workshops possible!
Our next training program is in Liberia, a nation still struggling to recover from war, and more recently the Ebola epidemic. Here and in many parts of the world, people suffer unnecessarily from fear and stigma, and a lack of access to care. When you support this project, you’re equipping community workers with basic skills to recognize and respond to mental health needs.