Safe Space to Process

The neighborhood of a partnering children’s home in Haiti hasn’t been quiet for weeks. Rival gangs created turmoil and noise for neighboring communities, causing many to flee or shelter-in-place for safety. The children at this home stayed put, and remained inside, with directors. Schools were closed for up to three weeks as a result of the unrest.

The emotional stress took a toll on the children, and staff decided to take action, planning a day dedicated to creativity and processing emotions in times of stress. “The goal of this day was to make a psychological assessment and develop the children’s senses of creation,” explained Weekenson Moise, Back2Back staff.

All of the children, along with the directors of the home, the staff psychologist, and two other staff members, were present for the day. The children learned how to make gift bags and boxes using wrapping paper, construction paper, and cardboard. This activity allowed them to use their own creativity and learn a new skill they could use in the future. Following the craft, the psychologist led a debriefing circle. There, children and adults alike processed all they’ve seen, heard, and experienced in the previous weeks. This time allowed her to observe how the children were really doing in the midst of unrest. They concluded their time together with a meal.

The children were excited to learn a new skill and take time to craft. Focusing on something fun and light was a gift to the children, and one of the young men asked if they could do it again during summer break. Prayer, sponsorship, and advocacy allow days of reset like this to happen. Together, global staff ensure children have space to process what’s happening around them and that they remain children for as long as they can.