Losing a parent is a major trauma for any child but the children that Brighter Futures Zambia supports have been bereaved, sometimes repeatedly, and had their lives disrupted by having to move to different homes and areas to be cared for by relatives. Many are forced to separate from their siblings when they are orphaned, increasing the emotional trauma and risk of psychological problems.
How can child counselling make a difference?
We fund weekly counselling sessions for orphans and vulnerable children to help address their often overlooked emotional needs. Counselling sessions offer children the chance to process their grief in a safe and nurturing environment. Trained volunteer counsellors lead the sessions and offer activities such as dance, drama and arts to help the children to express their grief and accept the reality of their loss.
Sadly, children who have lost one or both parents to AIDs are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect and could even face stigma and discrimination. Child counselling sessions include activities which raise awareness of issues like abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention, combining fun and play with a serious underlying message.
What other benefits are there from child counselling?
The counseling sessions also provide an opportunity to “check-in” with the children on a regular basis – increasing the likelihood that instances of abuse or psychological issues will be identified and addressed. Additionally, a meal is provided at every counselling session, which is an excellent regular source of nutrition for the children and reduces the burden on their household.
“Children have got stories to tell. They will tell me stories they cannot tell their families or carers.
In drawings the children can really put things in that they cannot describe. It’s really remarkable. They will draw a person asleep and we can talk about their mother or father who passed.
I try to show them… when you are grieving it’s not the end of everything, there is still life ahead of you”
Clara (counsellor, volunteer and orphan carer)
How can I help a child access counselling?
Your support can help children stay in education and strive for brighter futures. Help a child access counselling – donate through our JustGiving page at www.JustGiving.com/BFZ.
If you’ve any questions about supporting child counselling, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.