During armed conflict, children are deprived of basic needs, such as safe environments, educational opportunities, and good nutrition that promote positive development and health. Additionally, they are often left with the wounds of trauma and emotional pain. Experiencing armed conflict during childhood and adolescence affects children’s mental health and is a threat to their development.
Through several decades of working with refugee communities and populations in conflict zones, our team understands that for children to thrive, even when circumstances are dire, they need a community to belong to, tools and support for emotional regulation to avoid or heal from trauma, nutritious food to eat, and have access to education. If these four needs are met, children will be better equipped to live a healthy life and become the future peace builders our world needs.
Our professional trauma counsellors and psychologists train community leaders, teachers, care givers and family members to identify and care for children who have experienced trauma. These lay care givers form the basis for community awareness and intentional action to restore mental and emotional health for the youngest victims of war.
Where community cohesiveness is damaged by war and conflict, we organize sports, theater, and social events to bring all ages together in meaningful activities. This is part of Novi’s follow-up with those trained as lay caregivers and is meant to strengthen the bond between family, safe adults, and the broader social network children are part of.
The presence of protective factors including family and community acceptance may act to buffer the negative effects war has on children, thereby reducing the risk of mental disorders and promoting healthy social functioning. What is the opposite of loneliness? It is belonging
Where children go hungry, we provide nutritious food their young bodies and minds need to thrive.
There is clear evidence that suggests connection between poor nutrition/malnutrition early in life and impaired health, education, and performance later in life. Novi is committed to provide good nutrition for children and their families. With supplemental nutrition, children are better equipped to develop as they should and thrive in physical and emotional health. What makes other tasks easier to accomplish? A full tummy.
Where schools are destroyed or non-existent due to conflict, we reconstruct them or find alternative means of education while training teachers so that children have a nurturing institution supporting their days and are equipped for the future.
War creates chaos. It is essential to focus on education from the very beginning of a crisis. If children in warzones are not able to attend school, one more routine disappears and it will make recovering from the crisis more complex. A daily school routine also strengthens local capacities to build resilience and enhance social cohesion and security for children, even in the chaos of displacement and conflict. Schools provide children with a safe place to be, with opportunities to learn and grow, to be with friends and dream of a better future.