After the Christmas celebrations in the family circle, New Year follows. For some, the start of the year is full of goals, hopes and excitement for the events in the coming year. For others it is marked by worries and fears to be disappointed again through the incidents happening in the new year. For both groups it is worth making a "Dry January", a month completely without alcohol. Some learn to celebrate without alcohol, others are prevented from forgetting their sorrow through alcohol.
The challenge of the "Dry January" goes back to the educational campaign of the organisation Alcohol Change UK. The campaign began in 2012 to address the dangers of alcohol and addictive behaviour. 4000 people started the task seven years ago, today there are millions worldwide who intend to give up alcohol in the first month of the year.
Researchers confirm that a non-alcoholic month can bring about health changes. The effects are particularly great for people who drink a lot. On average, they lost around two kilos, blood pressure dropped by five percent, the risk of diabetes was reduced by 30 percent, the immune system was strengthened and the liver was able to recover.
The Dry January especially helps to get new self-awareness about one' s alcohol consumption. This also influences family compositions. Children can be shown during this time which effects alcohol has on their health and behaviour. Children see their parents skipping the glass of wine in the evening or the beer during the football match. Since parents are also more rested and stable due to the health effects of alcohol renunciation, the Dry January (and alcohol reduction/non-drinking in general) leads to a time when family time is valued and one respects each other.
In the coming year, the Blue Cross Brazil will continue to carry out activities for children who have experienced alcohol abuse at home. Through playful interactions, the children learn to overcome their experiences and formulate them in their own words. Campaigns support family work and stand up for the protection of children from alcohol. In January and throughout the year!
Thank you very much for your donation! Happy New Year 2020!
At the Blue Cross Brazil numerous very exciting activities took place in September among the Kids support groups.
We would like to share some of them with you:
On 2 September 2019, the 169th parade took place celebrating the foundation of the city of Blumenau. The Blue Cross participated and walked through the city with banners. The children and adults had a lot of fun. (Photo 1)
In the week from 9th to 15th September the topic "Emotions" was discussed in the kids support groups. The children watched a film together and then talked about their feelings. This serves as an exercise for children to learn to perceive and share their emotions. (Photo 2)
The children took part in a theme day at the end of September. The children were made aware of the danger of cigarettes in a playful way. A "mysterious" box served as entertainment. (Photo 3)
Thank you very much for your support in making such activities possible for children in Brazil!
"Bate papo" means "chat" in Brazilian. The project Chat belongs to the daily projects of Blue Cross in Brazil. The project consists of a variety of activities, which focus not only on playing together but also on talking to the children. Conversation and affection help the children to deal with their situation of addicted parents and the related difficulties.
The project often takes place on the football pitch. Before or after the training and football match, the leaders sit in a circle with the kids and talk about topics that concern them. Other activities include group games, handicrafts, acrobatics or making music together. The kids are listened to during the snack and between the game units and are assured that they are supported and beloved.
The leaders of the Kids Support Groups also meet regularly to share their experiences and to find new ways together how their work can touch children's hearts in the long run.
Help with your donations that children have someone to "chat" with about the situation at home. Thank you very much!
The Blue Cross Kids support groups are: Weekly meetings in drug-free, socio-interactive, playful spaces, monitoring, support and prevention, based on the vision of an integral human being. Values, aimed at children from contexts of use and abuse of psychoactive substances and the fragility and vulnerability of families in society.
On Mother's Day, the Blue Cross in Brazil has launched campaigns to make mothers aware of the harmful consequences of alcohol on their children.
In Brazil, over 15% of women drink during pregnancy. Heavy drinking during pregnancy can lead to spontaneous abortion or a number of disabilities known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, of which fetal alcohol syndrome is the most severe. Children with this condition are born with characteristic physical and mental defects, including small statures, as well as with small heads and brains.
There is no cure. Treatment focuses on mental health and medical services to cope with the resulting lifelong disabilities, which include learning difficulties, behavioural problems, language, delayed social or motor skills, memory disorders and attention deficits (WHO 2011).
A mother tells how she and her husband, through the Blue Cross campaign in Brazil, decided not to consume alcohol and to lead a healthier life:
In my family there are various family members who have problematic relationship with alcohol (alcohol abuse) and I understood that this is not a healthy environment for children to grow up with. So with my husband we decided to change our consumption habits in relation to alcohol once we had children. (Kátia M., Blumenau, Brazil)
Help to further implement such campaigns and promote the children's groups in Brazil and the cooperation with their mothers!
The Blue Cross Brazil has over 30 childcare groups. These are designed to give children the opportunity to talk about their problems, receive support and learn important life skills in a protected environment. The work with the children is very moving: many difficult stories and experiences of sometimes very young children can be heard every day. The caretakers of the children try very hard to support each child individually.
In order to act wisely even in the most precarious situations, it is important for the leaders to exchange information and knowledge about addiction and alcoholism, which provides a foundation for the right actions. For this purpose, leadership training courses are held on a regular basis. The following topics, as an example, were discussed at the meeting in February:
Profile of children confronted with drugs
The kids approach
Prevention through care and follow-up
Stages of development of children
The leaders learn about developmental psychology, addiction, typical family structures in addicts and which approaches are suitable to generate sustainable prevention for children.
Alcohol addiction is widespread in Brazil: 11.7 million people are affected. Children suffer the most as a result of their parents' alcohol consumption. Children have to assume responsibilities at home at a young age, they are often neglected and feel alone. In 2013 the Blue Cross of Brazil established the KIDS Support Groups prevention project for children of alcohol-dependent parents. At weekly meetings children have the opportunity to talk in a child friendly context about their problems. They are encouraged to recognise their strengths and develop self-confidence. The aim is to prevent children with difficult social backgrounds from sliding into alcohol or drug dependence.
The children need YOU! Help us to ensure that the children can continue to be cared for with love and compassion and thus grow into self-confident, responsible adults.
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