World Awareness for
Children in Trauma
WACIT Events

The objective of these events is to establish Inter Professional Networks, raise Awareness, provide Knowledge and Skills, establish Evidence, and develop a Sustainable Model.
Coming up:

July 2017
Interventions for refugee children, European Society for Child
and Adolescent Psychiatry, Geneva, Switzerland

August 2017
Child trauma workshop, Asian Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
and Allied Professions, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Autumn 2017
Child trauma workshops, Karachi, Pakistan

Autumn 2017
Interprofessional training, Rio, Brazil
WACIT 6 Continents x6 Weeks phase: October - November 2016

During October and November 2016, Professor Panos Vostanis consecutively visited 8 countries; Greece, Turkey, Indonesia, Australia, Brazil, USA , Kenya and Tanzania, and their selected NGOs/centres in these six continents.  He delivered child trauma-focused workshops in each country/centre. These included contributions from key stakeholders. Panos also participate in resilience-building sports, music or arts events with the children in each country.
 * supported by  NEXT (UK)
Highlights of WACIT Events...
November 2016, Nakuru, Kenya:
A girls soccer team like any other, but still in city slum
Playing on a bumpy and dry field, where it was difficult to control the ball, was the least of our worries. The stats in this urban slum alin Kenya are against them in terms of all the risk indicators surrounding them: child maltreatment, domestic violence, alcohol use and offending. 

Where will these girls be in a few years? Can they built enough resilience through school and other supports in the meanwhile? The aim of working with the NGO FANET is to help return young people to school and support teachers in providing a holistic support that goes well beyond their education remit.

         November 2016, State of Sao Paulo, Brazil - Child mental health user dancing engagement
The music and various dances were to be expected in Brazil! What was so positive to discover was their creative use in engaging children and youth attending a mental health service in the State of São Paulo. Following on from the earlier workshop, it was delightful to see the staff adopt a different role; and the children to respond and enjoy themselves.

Talking of community integration, the scary hip hop class brought together young service users and children or youth from the community at a local community centre run by occupational therapists. Great teaching from the student volunteer!
October 2016, Australia -  Aborigibal children define their identity
Following the visit in Sydney, it was nice to experience another context in Aboriginal communities by visiting the inland city of Armidale. Again, a strong partnership between Gunawirra, a preschool and primary school.

The model of education in cultural identity complemented by individual and group interventions where needed, appeared consistent with the city. Faced with walls of adult mistrust, these children were able to integrate and appeared comfortable with their emerging identity.

      October 2016, Jakarta, Indonesia - What a warm welcome from children in Jakarta orphanage!
This could be any school or children's party in the world. Except from the costumes, music and hospitality, which was top class.
And yet, this was an orphanage in Jakarta. There was a strong correlation between the children's and staff smiles, warm welcome and pride - the underlying variable being a nurturing environment for children collected off the streets. A really innovative participatory
research methodology of capturing staff and children's views from Evelyn Sharples at UCL.
October 2016, Istanbul, Turkey
From the horrors of the streets and the Syrian war to a rebuilding haven at the Hayat in Istanbul

Can you imagine these children selling water and tissues on the streets? Yet they were not long ago before being reunited with their families and getting education through the tireless work of staff and volunteers at the Hayat Foundation. Today we heard of two young people who moved to University too. The games were fun (ear to ear and practicing some theraplay techniques), but through them one could spot their confidence, improvisation and social improvement.

This Syrian boy was such a character and talented dancer. It is hard to imagine what he experienced and told us in a previous interview about his experience on fleeing Syria. So nice to see him thrive through education and family support at the Hayat Foundation. This seemed to facilitate the other children too - from working on the street to directing the activities and creatively expressing themselves.

          March 2016, Sao Paulo, Brazil
No sanitation, the nearest hospital is impossibly far, nowhere to play, fire and health hazards, and the irregular water and electricity are a self-borrowed favour from the surrounding poor neighbourhoods. Except for TETO NGO and their wonderful volunteers, these families are forgotten by the world at large. 400 unimportant humans, an insignificant anomaly for society – one can add 20 more favelas in the city thankfully covered by TETO, and so many many more. At the same time, luxury shopping centres were unashamingly bursting with life, not that far away…
February 2016 - Re-integrating children
from slums to Nakuru schools
Many of these kids are stuck in a vicious circle,  they may not fulfil the basics standards to be accepted, have to work outside school if they can find short-term jobs, and not afford the school fees, no matter how small these are.  Schools are caught in this quandary by relying on state subsidies and pupils’ fees to keep going, as well as entry standards. The focus, therefore, should be to bridge the gap through remedial teaching, skills training and sponsorship for children from the slum areas. NGOs and volunteering will hopefully contribute but in the meanwhile, teachers try their admirably best - Geoffrey Machoka (School's Headmaster) pictured here standing beneath the school's motto.
                                                        February 2016 - Back at the Nakuru slums
I was so happy to see Rahab, the baby girl in my profile pictures, eight months on. She has had a baby brother too since then. Also so nice to see my favourite grandmother, and to enjoy my theraplay colleagues’ games with the children and plenty of new reading material for the teacher.  But I had mixed feelings as well. Most plans still on course, but I was disappointed that we had not pulled them together by now. Still a learning curve, particularly for small charities.
     January 2016 - Hope from Pakistan!
Vision created by children outiside the 5-Star school in Karachi slums
Remarkable how their spirit is strong, regardless of their hard life circumstances.
Training Teachers in Karachi and Islamabad
It was a privilege to share case discussion that was reminiscent of similar concerns across the world. Meeting the children was fun too, be it at the competition awards or hearing of their favourite games. There was innovation to admire such as integrating children from the orphanages or developing a within-school counselling post for an extremely motivated teacher. 
An inspiring school in the Karachi slums
These young children are up against it for a number of reasons. And yet here comes this superb group of teachers to give them hope. Not surprisingly, when school is off, they can not wait to go back!
Islamabad and Karachi orphanages
November 2015 - Best selfie with drug peer counsellors and football with ex-street children in Jakarta: leaving with hope!
If getting off the streets, breaking away from gangs and giving up drugs is not admirable enough, coming back to help other young people is truly inspiring! These are the best placed young people to engage and gain trust in a drug rehabilitation centre, now in a formal professional capacity.  Here they are looking great in a selfie!!
November 2015 - Child trauma and theraplay workshop in Jakarta
It seemed to work in Istanbul, it can’t be a coincidence that it was well perceived in Jakarta, despite the tight schedule and the large number of 6o practitioners. Providing the frameworks gave participants opportunities to interact, practice, relate to their roles and contribute their experience. It was particularly pleasing to see staff from the care homes for street children that we had visited during the week. A big thanks to Astrid for her theraplay contribution!
         November 2015 - Witnessing the nurturing progress of young children in a Jakarta care home
I would not claim that pulling faces at babies and waiting for them to smile back is the most accurate attachment test! However, I did get lots of smiles from this young lady and her baby friends. They were becoming alert and curious, which made sense, experiencing the warmth and stimulation from their caregivers.  This was evident in the 4-5 year-old classroom, where by now the children were keen to learn, could interact appropriately and take turns. A little boy felt secure enough to remind me that I was sitting on his chair!
Considering many stories of abandonment of babies in plastic bags, boxes or by the side of the road, their progress spoke loudly of the quality of care they were receiving. Great input from three in-house Psychologists and from my psychiatric friend Isa Multazam Noor who visits regularly. A lovely model.
                    November 2015 - A wonderful nurturing special school in Seran, Indonesia
It was certainly the best reception ever, when we arrived at Pandita school outside Jakarta! The teachers’ hospitality was mirrored in the children’s creativity and social interactions. They were rightly proud of their dancing and achievements across all ages and abilities. It was also great to see the integration with the wider community – a huge thanks to all! 
                     2015 - Carergivers training on challenging behaviours in Gisenyi, Rwanda
The two main observations were:
  1. How half of the carers for young people with disability had developed in parallel with them moving from the orphanages, then gelled with the new carers.
  2. That they had used a range of appropriate strategies, which they were able to reflect on and consolidate with a framework.
How wonderful to see their confidence grow and, not surprisingly, mirror the young people’s improvement!

19 October 2015 - The Ubumwe Community Centre for young people with disabilities in Rwanda
After visiting the community homes (community living programme), one can see how the two have fallen into place and led to such improvements over only six months. Ubumwe means Togetherness!
18 October 2015 - Young people from orphanages successfully move to community homes in Rwanda
Oscar is showing me his new suit – a long long way from the baby abandoned in a plastic bag by the side of the road. Nouri could not wait to introduce me to her carers. An ex-resident Virginie shows off her hairdressing training on Sifa. And Jo Jo will be walking sooner than he thinks, he certainly did it for the camera!
                                           October 2015 -  A child trauma training gig in Istanbul
This was the first real WACIT test, and a huge thanks to the Hayat Foundation, particularly Hatice, for being so advanced and hosting the three-day child.
                         October 2015 - Nothing that could not be overcome at the Hayat!
Mixing fun and trauma-focused work? Turkish and Syrian children? Different NGO staff? Three languages? No budget? No problem whatsoever – we had a fabulous day!
And creative activities from IICA in Istanbul...