Emergency pedagogy in Nepal

by Sebastian Schilling, 2015/10/07

Laughing children running across a school yard, happy faces watching a puppet show, boys and girls singing and dancing out of joy – these are not pictures you would currently expect from Nepal, which had been badly scarred by a major earth quake this spring.

Twice, on the 25th of April and the 12th of May 2015, the earth in the Himalayan state trembled wreaking havoc and desperation. Nearly 8.000 people died underneath the debris, more than 22.000 got injured. Even today, about four months after the disaster, Nepal is afflicted regularly by aftershocks. The people there live in constant fear of a new tragedy, many do not dare to return into their houses.

To give children the chance to process their fearful experiences and to take first steps towards normality humedica provides extensive support to the stART organisation, which engages in emergency pedagogy at Nepalese schools.

“Major disasters such as the earthquake in Nepal are very traumatic experiences and can lead to lifelong post-traumatic stress disorder if not treated in time. This is where we come in by offering the children via artistic and psycho-social activities stability and a way out of their anxieties.” explains Francesco Zoccarato, stART team leader, their approach to help the children.

Since the earthquake in Nepal a multi-faceted team of experienced trauma and art therapists visited several schools in Kathmandu and Sindhupalchowk, which were particularly affected by the catastrophe. The feedback is always positive. “We continually get inquiries from new educational facilities, schools, we have already visited, ask us to return. Especially teachers are very interested in our work as they also observe the need for trauma therapy, but have hardly any experience with it themselves.” says trauma educationist Christoph Bednarik.

While in the morning several activities are integrated in the regular classes in order not to break into the routines of the school, in the afternoon the focus in on the teachers. They learn about the theoretical background of the remedial measures and have the opportunity to discuss all open questions about emergency pedagogy. Practical trainings provide them with a variety of games and trauma-therapeutic interventions so they can continue to integrate the emergency pedagogical support in their everyday tution even after the stART-teams left.

It still will take a long time before the children in Nepal will have processed their earthquake experiences completely. But the pictures of laughing boys and girls in their school yard document the success and the value of the emergency pedagogy concept, which can support the children on their strenuous way back to a normal life.

If you would like to support a child and its family in the hard times after the disaster, you can join in the humedica family sponsorship program. Your monthly contribution secures the basic supply of families in need and offers them a better future.

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