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.
The Blue Cross in Brazil was given the title SOCIAL MERIT for its services to people in social need in the community of Gaspar. The ceremony took place on December 14, 2018. The Secretary for Social Welfare of Gaspar presented the title to Rolf Hartmann, President of the Blue Cross Brazil. Also present was the burgomaster of Gaspar, Kleber Edson Wan-Dall. Gaspar is a small community in the centre of Brazil and has partnerships with Cruz Azul in the field of prevention and training in alcohol and drug abuse, especially they do activities for disadvantaged children. The title is a symbol that the work reaches many families and children and the engagement is also appreciated by the local population and government.
On the same day, an annual review celebration of the Board of Directors and the staff of the Brazilian Blue Cross took place in the headquarters of Cruz Azul, in Blumenau.The participants showed gratitude for all that has been achieved in 2018.
With your donation you are helping to ensure that the activities continue to be successful!
The fruitfulness and lasting change in the hearts of children of alcoholics can only be achieved through you. The children should continue to be inspired and experience great things in 2019. We thank you for your generosity and wish you a happy new year!
5% of the population in Brazil is affected by alcohol addiction which often leads to the fact that many kids and teens know alcohol and drugs from their everyday life.
A child should never accept the use of drugs as a normal part of their daily routine. But this can happen through environmental influences such as their addicted father or mother as their role model. Substance abuse has a direct influence on the development of a child and children of addicts have a predisposition to become addicted as well. The social system often forgets that prevention work is extremely important to stop the circle of repeating social injustice.
The KIDS Supports Groups programs in Brazil give children of alcohol-dependent parents a place where they are able to acquire a more positive outlook on life and help kids in coping with their family situation. At weekly meetings, while their parents are attending therapeutic sessions, children are encouraged to talk in a child friendly context about their problems. Blue Cross teachers support them in developing coping mechanisms and prevent them from sliding into alcohol or drug dependence themselves.
The goal of the Blue Cross Brazil is to have 39 KIDS Support Groups until the end of 2018. Last year they reached the number of 30 groups. The groups are growing in popularity and the demand for new groups is rising.
In addition to the expansion of the structures for kids, another important target group will be supported next year: TEENS. The leader team saw a great need for this vulnerable age group, because in the phase life from 12 - 16 identity-finding and peer group pressures are reality. Since teens see substance abuse in their homes frequently the danger that addiction patterns in families will be repeated is high. Similar to the KIDS Support Groups the TEENS Support Groups will have the goal to create an environment where the adolescents can develop important life skills, i.e. how to handle the family situation and to discover their strengths and personality. The first step of the new project is to find volunteer leaders to implement the activities. The project is also in need of physical resources and materials like a car for the visitors, a sound box, microphone and a computer.
Promoting an area of welcome, coexistence and orientation for children and teens affected by drug consumption as a strategy of prevention and care for people in situations of social vulnerability and risk is the goal of the projects. The KIDS Support Groups and soon the TEENS Support Groups will help to stop repeating addiction patterns in families in Brazil.
Blue Cross Brazil has run Self Help groups for adults effected or using Drugs or Alcohol for years. The group participants have often brought their children with them as there was no other place for them whilst adults had wanted to attend the group. For this need BC Brazil developped kids support groups and noticed that children have as high needs for peer support in their difficult Family citcumstances as the adults.
In these groups youth can feel safe to talk about their feelings and find healthy solutions to Family life in order to avoid co- dependency that is common risk for children of people who suffer from addiction.
You can follow the lively work of BC Brazil through their Facebook. Thank you for your support for this vital work!
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