Amani and Lyat play at Za'atari's new playground
In the aftermath of natural disasters and wars, children need help to make sense of what's happened. Our emergency-response teams lay the groundwork for emotional recovery in children by using two programs:
Comfort for Kids, developed in partnership with Bright Horizons Family Solutions, combines training for adults to help kids process trauma with an interactive workbook for children, which helps them tell their story of the disaster in a safe environment. Moving Forward promotes physical and emotional recovery through sports such as volleyball and soccer.
Here's how your incredible support helps Mercy Corps heal and rebuild lives for kids all over the world:
- After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated New Orleans and swaths of the U.S. Gulf Coast, we distributed 55,000 Comfort Kits to children that included school supplies and stuffed animals. We also helped rebuild playgrounds lost to the storm.
- New school supplies helped more than 9,000 children feel safe again in classrooms after the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake, which caused school collapses that killed up to 10,000 students.
- Nearly 70% of the parents in Gaza said their children showed more optimism and fewer behavior problems after receiving emergency counseling from our teams in 2009, in the wake of Israel's Operation Cast Lead.
- In our largest response yet, Mercy Corps teams in Haiti trained parents, doctors, teachers and other caregivers to help 90,000 children overcome their fear after the 2010 earthquake.
- Mercy Corps brought play and art activities to 2,300 Japanese children after the March 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami.
- In Yemen’s capital, Mercy Corps and partner UNICEF are providing safe spaces for children to learn and play, reclaiming schools that had become war zones.
- Our teams in the Central African Republic have recently expanded play therapy groups to reach more children displaced or orphaned by the terrorizing Lord's Resistance Army.
To learn more about how your support helps children in need, please click here to check out heartwarming photos from our new Comforting Kids Around the World photo essay.
Our most recent Comfort for Kids initiative is helping Syrian kids who have fled with their families to Jordan and Lebanon. We've built the only playground at Za'atari camp in northern Jordan. Even the refugee camp, far from the fighting, is a distressing place for children, who make up nearly half of the 20,000 refugees here.
Nine-year-old Amani, like most kids in the camp, wants to go home as soon as she can. “We had a happy home with four bedrooms and a nice living room and a garden. I had toys and clothes and there were parks nearby to play in. Now we have nothing.”
But Amani’s face lights up as she plays. She tells her new friends that she wants to be a nurse when she grows up so she can help people in need. The playgrounds help brighten each day for her and best friend, Lyat, 11 years old, in otherwise harsh and bleak surroundings.
Your continued support allows Mercy Corps to help children like Amani and Lyat heal and recover from unimaginable trauma. Thank you.
In Haiti, Abigail loves her art therapy program
Children regain a sense of well-being
A playground in Jordan's Za'atari refugee camp
A typical play therapy session in the CAR