In partnership with child psychologists, our North Africa team is developing a series of trauma recovery workshops to go alongside our Life in the Desert animated series.
We want to run these workshops with groups of children across the Middle East, including Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan. Ultimately, the aim is to encourage traumatised children to lift their eyes to God, in whom true healing is found.
Children across the Middle East are experiencing the trauma of conflict, displacement, instability and poverty. Some of the worst hit are Syrian children. According to a report by Save the Children, Syrian children are suffering form extreme levels of psychological trauma and emotional stress, and a staggering 70% of children interviewed were experiencing common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder such as bedwetting, loss of speech, aggression and substance abuse.
The 3D series itself focuses on a young girl named Farah. After her mother dies, she is forced to move to the desert to live with her father, which leaves her full of pain, sadness and con icting emotions. Over the course of the series, Farah learns to overcome her pain and reconciles with her father, through the example of biblical heroes.
Many of the children in the workshops will be experiencing similar emotions to Farah – sadness at having to leave their home against their will, the loss of leaving their toys and friends behind, anger at having no control over their situation or where they live, and the grief of losing family and loved ones.
Our workshops will unpack some of the issues the children are facing. Coordinators will be given training in how to connect with traumatised children, and will use the film as a tool to help the children explore their emotions and begin their recovery process.
This is not a standalone project but will involve local partners on the ground who are already working with refugee children, to ensure the project is sustainable. We will train groups of their trainers, who can then take our trauma recovery workshops to children across the Middle East and beyond. The great advantage of 'Training-Of-Trainers' sessions is that the trainees are able to pass on the same training to other people in their circles – the Middle East Media team does not have to run it again. In this way, the sustainability of the project is ensured, as local people from the children's own context are trained to provide our training to the same professional standard.
Coordinators will be given training in how to connect with traumatised children. These facilitators will then run their own workshops for 10-12 children, using the film as a tool to help them explore their emotions and begin their recovery process. Elements of the workshops will include:
- Watching an episode of Life in the Desert together
- Reading the Bible story which comes up in the series, such as Moses, Abraham or the Prodigal Son
- Discussion questions around the episode and Bible story
- Encouraging children to speak to the Bible character as Farah does, to tell him how they are feeling
- Craft activities such as colouring and painting to help the children understand the episode. (For instance, in one session, the children will create stuffed toy versions of their favourite character from the episode to be used as an illustration of how God cares for us. The children will be told that since they made their toy, they know it inside and out and know how to mend it when it gets broken. In the same way, God made us and he is the only one who can mend us and make us new again – both inside and outside.)
- The children will receive a copy of the Bible story to take away with them.
How you can pray
Renee, our North Africa Director, has asked us to pray for the project, and for the traumatised children of the Middle East:
- Please pray that every child watching Life In The Desert will receive a special revelation about God's loving heart to them, that all the sadness and poverty around them will not stop them from feeling His love and protection over their lives.
- Please pray that our production and training workshops will be channels for the Holy Spirit to touch lives and transform them into His image, in spite of their sufferings.
- We need guidance to find and partner with sister organizations to help provide the Training-Of-Trainers to caregivers of refugee children.
- We need to be ready to go with God into whatever new lands He wants to take us, to multiply the impact of this project.
- We need prayers for the protection of our teams and continuous blessings to be working faithfully in the projects that God has guided us to work on.
- Please pray for our regional economies - there are increasing financial pressures. Our North Africa team is struggling immensely with their living costs against enormous inflation rates.