Sep 17, 2018

Life After the Fire Volcano Eruption

Youth taking part in activity rehabilitation.
Youth taking part in activity rehabilitation.

"When I woke up the next day, life as I knew it—it had changed forever." – a child from El Rodeo village, speaking about the eruption of “Volcán de Fuego” in Chimaltenango, Guatemala.

After the eruption of Volcán de Fuego in June, the inhabitants of El Rodeo village in Chimaltenango were relocated to variousshelters in Guatemala. Asociacion Generando (ASOGEN) responded immediately to the emergency, fulfilling immediate needssuch asproviding food, clothing, and medicine for families affected by the eruption. In the weeks that followed, they designed a psychosocial care program, which focused on delivering psychological care to children and youth coping with this traumatic experience.

A few weeks ago I visited the “Albergue de Transicion Unifamiliar” in Escuintla, a government-run shelter for hundreds of families who survived the volcano. The shelter has a temporary school where students from Instituto por Cooperativa de Aldea El Rodeo—a school that was destroyed in the eruption—take classes so they can finish their school year. Because some students showed post-traumatic behaviors, Julia Rodriguez Giron, the school principal, contacted ASOGEN to provide psychological care to students as a way to cope with grief.

Every two weeks, ASOGEN’s staff visit the shelter and provide psychological and medical care. According to Marian Salazar, ASOGEN’s medical doctor, displaced students there suffer from a number of diseases such asurinary tract diseases, dermatitis, and impetigo (gastritis nervosa). Psychological care is provided by ASOGEN’s seven-person team, which includes psychologists and social workers. Each of them works with a group of approximately 25 students and covers a curriculum that includes topics like controlling emotions and stress management.

The students that attend the workshop share their emotions as a group and try to cope with the sadness of losing family, friends, and livelihoods. A moving element that takes place during the workshop is the “burning of emotions” where students write the feelings that affect them on a piece of paper that is then burned. This symbolizes the elimination of emotions that they no longer want to feel.

The following quotes are from students from El Rodeo School that were shared during the psychosocial workshop I attended in Escuintla.

  • "Before the eruption of the volcano, my life was different.”
  • "That Friday Karen, Ludwig, Jefferson, and I were so happy to leave school because the exam period was over." (Karen, Ludwig, and Jefferson died, but mentioning their names in the workshop session brings closure to those who remember them.)
  • "Since the eruption happened, I have not had a moment of joy."
  • “I was very scared when the volcano eruption happened, I do not feel safe, even though I am with my family.”
  • “I am angry because my life changed and sad because my cousins and friends died."

Through the implementation of this workshop, ASOGEN’s team is monitoring the progress of the students’ mental health. Both the ASOGEN team and the school principal know that recovery from grief and acceptance of reality is a long-term process, but they know that the psychosocial care workshops have helped students cope and have provided hope. The following quotes demonstrate that the workshops have had a positive influence on the students.

"Despite being sad, I feel happy because my mom and sister are fine."

"I'm still scared, but I am alive and that's enough motivation to keep going."

Thanks to our donors and their contributions, we've reached our funding goal! You have made a real difference for the children and youth affected by Volcano Fire's eruption. We are very grateful for your support.

"I hope things get better in your life"
"I hope things get better in your life"
A group of women posing in front of govt. shelter.
A group of women posing in front of govt. shelter.
Sep 12, 2018

We've Reached our Funding Goal!

South Kolkata Hamari Muskan
South Kolkata Hamari Muskan

In partnership with Seamont Foundation, Global Fund for Children has reached its funding goal of countering trafficking and hazardous labor in India by empowering locally led grassroots organizations. Thanks to this partnership and all donations contributed through GlobalGiving, the selected grassroots organizations will act as agents of change on a local, national and global scale, and build more resilient communities.

Through this five year partnership, GFC will be able to identify key organizations and institutions working with children and youth impacted by trafficking and hazardous labor in targeted regions within India. The funds raised will provide programmatic support and organizational growth to four or six grassroots organizations currently addressing child trafficking in their communities. The grassroots organizations will implement activities centered on reducing risk, removing children from harm, and rehabilitating and reintegrating them into safer and more nurturing living environments. 

A BIG thank you to all our donors who have given via our GlobalGiving page. You have made a tangible difference to the lives of children in India and we are very grateful for your support.

Aug 20, 2018

Introducing some of our youth council members!

Voice of Youth Logo
Voice of Youth Logo

We are excited to announce that Global Fund for Children's Youth Leadership Council is growing! Earlier this year, we kicked off our Voice of Youth initiative, aimed at creating a safe space for youth to voice and share their thoughts and opinions on what matters most to them. Today, we have five newly appointed council members, each actively involved or leading youth-led organizations all around the world. 

Meet the team, and learn why they've chosen to commit to this initiative! 

Mete, 26, Chief Executive of My Life My Say and Councillor for Stoke Newington
Mete is best known for his work in setting-up the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Better Brexit for Young People and for contributing to the increase of turnout for young people at the 2017 UK General Elections. The youngest ever elected Councillor in the London borough of Hackney, he is also Chair of the Skills, Economy & Growth Commission in Hackney, which has a remit for skills, economy and growth in Hackney. Previously, he worked on the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s election campaign leading on youth engagement. Alongside his role in politics, Mete previously worked for Arsenal & Southampton FC as a football scout for their respective youth departments.

Jemma, 24, co-Director of School Space 
Jemma works with schools to rent out their facilities in evenings, weekends, and holidays, raising income to invest in children's learning, and linking state schools with their local community. They also aim to raise companies' awareness of facilities schools have to offer, increasing private potential to give back and aid their own CSR aims.

Sasha, 21
Sasha is a third-year student from Moscow, Russia. She has had the opportunity to experience several roles, from having her own business (and learning how to be a barista from the very scratch: scrapping floors) to working with refugees back in Moscow, to being an international student and an ambassador for the model united nations world. I do believe that creating equal opportunities for everyone from the very beginning is a good start for the better world.

In October, the team will come together to develop a streamlined vision for how they will use their strengths and leadership experience to help elevate the voices of youth. This is where we need YOUR help! The more money we raise on our Global Giving page, the more we will be able to elevate the voices of our council members on a global scale.

Keep your eyes peeled for more updates and introductions to Nik and Nasra!

Mete
Mete
Jemma
Jemma
Sasha
Sasha
 
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