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Restoring a Broken Childhood through Psychosocial Support


When he misses his family, the only thing that Bakr could do is to search through the memories of the past that he still holds.

The sturdy home where the 10-year-old boy used to live failed to withstand the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on 6 February 2023. Bakr was rescued, but he was only survivor of his entire family. His parents and three siblings all passed away.

Even though his uncle took him under his wing, Bakr still felt lonely, unable to move on from the pain and heartache of losing his family. Slowly, he began withdrawing, secluding himself in his tiny room, speaking less and less every day that his uncle almost forgot his voice. He does not want to go out with friends either, let alone meet new people and forge new friendships.

Bakr was losing himself, but his uncle was unaware of the situation. Due to a lack of financial support and job opportunities, his uncle was unable to secure basic needs for himself and Bakr.

World Vision is Here to Support During Difficult Times

Recognising the vast need for psychological support among the children in Northwest Syria, World Vision and its local partners intervened by implementing an education and protection project which creates a safe space for children to learn and heal from the catastrophe.

Bakr is an intelligent child who loved going to school but the death of his mother made him feel he had nothing left. So he just stopped going. Concerned about Bakr’s radical change, his teacher contacted World Vision’s local partners who were implementing the education project to follow up. After conducting a full assessment to understand the crisis Bakr went through, they established a psychological response plan.

The plan aimed to provide Bakr with the emotional care he desperately needed. It started with raising his uncle’s awareness about the importance of having a safe home to return to, a trusted guardian to resort to and a decent living environment. They discussed providing consistent attention and creating a safe space for Bakr to express his feelings, dangers of child neglect and how it leads to emotional distress and trauma in the long run.

Besides that, it was important to have Bakr’s uncle to encourage him to return to school. World Vision and its partners also provided Bakr with food and non-food items such as clothes and school supplies to improve his living environment. Slowly, Bakr was able to share his feelings during the psychological support sessions. The burden of losing his family began to feel lighter day by day. Living with his uncle started feeling like home and things began to get better.

Bakr’s words echo the joy he feels, “I am happy now, I am back in school with my friend Saleem, I have other friends too and we play together and I love the [psychological and education] activities”. His uncle also notices how safe his nephew feels, “When his family passed away, he used to isolate himself. But after receiving the support from the protection team [from World Vision’s partners], his personality is brighter, he laughs. I feel that he feels better now.”

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