22 August 2017

SOS Children’s Villages Treating the Unseen Wounds of War

DOHUK, Iraq—Children in Iraq have been stripped of their childhoods and forced to endure unimaginable horror as a result of ongoing conflict within the country. SOS Children’s Villages is one of the only organizations providing much-needed psychosocial support to vulnerable children in a place where mental healthcare is highly stigmatized.
 
SOS has launched an emergency response program that focuses on providing mental health and trauma support for children affected by the turmoil in Iraq—support that is hard to come by in this area.
 
“Psychological problems are taboo and they are not seen as a health issue. Seeking help is really stigmatized, yet the need is enormous. There is trauma that even regular psychologists cannot intuitively know how to deal with, due to the level of violence and suffering involved,” said Luciana D’Abramo, Emergency Advisor for SOS Children’s Villages.
 
SOS’s emergency response focuses on providing mental health and trauma support, livelihood assistance and human rights advocacy to those in and around the Khanke camp in the Dohuk region of Iraqi Kurdistan, including:
  • 800 Yazidi children aged 8-18 living in and outside the camp
  • 1,000 Yazidi mothers and teenage girls
  • 1,700 internally displaced parents living in and outside the camp
  • 500 at-risk people in the host community

Ongoing fighting within Iraq has all but erased the country’s healthcare workforce—including mental health professionals—and made it nearly impossible for outside forces to bring in help. This lack of support leaves a population beleaguered by the trauma of war without the chance to get the care they desperately need. 
  
SOS’s trauma support focuses on trauma recovery techniques—like drawing, active imagination and visualization— that equip these children with the ability to acknowledge and cope with the traumas they have endured.  
 
SOS Children’s Villages

SOS Children’s Villages believes that every child deserves a loving family. We build families for orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children in 134 countries and territories, including the United States.

Founded in 1949, we provide children with the love and long-term support they need to shape their own futures - a stable family, quality medical care and the opportunity to learn. Through our family support and care programs, medical centers, schools and emergency relief efforts we impact millions of lives worldwide. SOS Children’s Villages is the world’s largest nongovernmental organization dedicated to the care of orphaned and abandoned children.

To learn more, visit www.sos-usa.org, or Follow us on Twitter @SOSChildrenUSA.