CANADIAN DISASTER CHILD CARE SOCIETY
EDMONTON VOLUNTEERS HELP SURVIVORS OF TORTURE AND TRAUMA
Disaster child-care volunteers care for children during and after disasters. Volunteers go through intensive training sessions and disaster simulations, to better equip themselves to help children after a disaster. Some of the skills taught are reflective listening, therapeutic play activities and procedures to set up a temporary child care centre.
Disaster child-care volunteers in Edmonton, Alberta, had been trained and were ready to go to work. But disasters don't often happen in their region, and not all volunteer have the opportunity to go abroad. These volunteers discovered a unique outlet for using their skills: working with war-traumatized refugee children who recently resettled in their area.
The Mennonite Centre for Newcomers sponsors a program through the Edmonton Centre for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (ECSTT). The program offers services in crisis intervention and therapeutic counseling. In September 1995 the Edmonton CDCC volunteers began working with the children of Somalian families while the parents attend ECSTT services. In later years, the volunteers worked with children of Bosnian families, as well.
Marlene Mulder, coordinator of the program, says " As we worked with children we observed many behaviors that indicated stress and trauma. Very short attention spans, fear of things that are not usually fearful, play that involves role play of specific acts of violence, conversations about killing and bleeding, and the children's artwork are all indicative of former experiences."
Volunteers meet with a staff chartered psychologist monthly to discuss any concerns. Edmonton volunteers have found their work to be very rewarding.
Send mail to
questions or comments about this web site.