The ongoing impact disaster can have on children
In any crisis, children are always the most vulnerable. More than half of those affected by emergencies are children, and crises can severely affect both their physical safety and emotional wellbeing.
Research confirms that without early intervention, children experiencing trauma may suffer negative effects that impact educational and functional outcomes later in life.1 Studies2 show that primary school children in bushfire affected areas demonstrated reduced academic progress compared with their peers two to four years after the event. Significant delays in progress in reading and numeracy have been observed in children who started school in the year prior to a moderate to major bushfire.
Building resilience among children after disaster
Save the Children works to ensure all children and young people are supported – from the immediate response to a crisis and throughout recovery.
In the first hours after children are evacuated from their homes and communities, we are there to keep them safe and supported through our Child-Friendly Spaces in evacuation and relief centres. Then as relief centres close, we work with local authorities to mobilise outreach psychosocial support in communities that have been hardest hit.
Once the immediate emergency has passed, we continue to work with families and schools to ensure the most heavily impacted children receive the support they need to process what they’ve experienced and mitigate the long-term impacts.
We do this through our Journey of Hope in-school recovery model. Journey of Hope helps children and caregivers cope with traumatic events, develop their natural resilience and strengthen their social support networks.
Journey of Hope is free for eligible schools affected by the 2019-20 bushfires
Thanks to generous donations by international supporters, investment from Save the Children international member organisations and domestic fundraising, Save the Children is able to offer Journey of Hope, free of charge to an initial number of primary and secondary schools in communities affected by the devastating 2019-20 bushfires.
The Journey of Hope program is tailored for four age groups:
Early Years into Lower Primary – children aged 4-7
Middle Primary – children aged 8-10
Late Primary to Early High School – young people aged 11-13
Mid to late High School – young people aged 14-18