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Healing amidst the chaos of conflict

07 September 2023, Impact of Our Work

A journey of building confidence and dreaming for the future

This story of Nerjis* you’re about to read might be upsetting, but it’s important to share. The starting point of eight-year-old Nerjis’ agony was when she got injured while escaping an escalation of conflict in her city in Syria. Three fingers from her left hand had to be amputated.

“I cannot write with my left hand [because of the injury],”  she says.

Her mum Alif* shares that Nerjis would draw fingers on her notebook and cry. In the words of Alif, her daughter’s life had turned out to be a “nightmare.” 

“My husband and I were dreaming of a bright future for our children. We were confident and optimistic about their future but none of our dreams came true. Everything collapsed.”

“She had turned into an introvert because of her hand,”  Alif says.

Now she draws rainbows

Nerjis’ turning point started at a Save the Children Child Friendly Space. It’s where she learned to write again with her other hand. 

“My teacher [a Save the Children Protection Facilitator] taught me how to write with my right hand. I was very happy when I learned how to do it,”  she says.

“I like drawing sessions the most. I draw rainbows.”

Thanks to generous donors, she had the opportunity to participate in resilience-building activities at the Child Friendly Space. She gained more confidence and found new friends.

Alif shares, “We were very lucky to have the space [Save the Children's Child Friendly Space] in the school. Her psyche becomes better after participating in the activities. Without Save the Children my daughter would not be able to overcome her agony.”

At a Child Friendly Space Nerjis plays games with newfound friends to help build her resilience.

Healing at a Child Friendly Space

A child friendly space is a safe place for children caught in the middle of disasters. It’s a space where children like Nerjis can feel safe, play and keep hold of their childhood, amidst the chaos of conflict. 

Activities at a Child Friendly Space help children process their experience, express their emotions and build resilience. The children can do art therapy, sports, singing and board games. They are also taught exercises to help provide stress relief. 

Some of the relaxation techniques our practitioners teach children at a Child Friendly Space can be applied in our own homes. Below are four stress busters that could help you and your family.

At a Child Friendly Space, Nerjis is receiving support to go through the process of healing from trauma. Her mum Alif says: 

“She has gained confidence. The other day she told me that she wanted to be a teacher in the future.”

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

Photos: Shiyar Omar / Save the Children.

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