With funding from Irish Aid, Christian Aid’s local partner Hurras Network handed out emergency kits to 2,500 children impacted by the earthquake. The emergency kits contained essentials such as food, blankets, warm clothing and soap as well as stationery to keep the children entertained.
One of those given a kit was six-year-old Sara* who was forced to take shelter in a tent with her family after the earthquake. Sara said: “Life here in camp is so tough. The tent is sometimes freezing and sometimes it’s too hot.”
Even during the most difficult of times, it’s vital that children are given opportunities to have fun to help them cope with their situation.
Ten-year-old Sami is one of the 4,000 children attending 100 child-friendly spaces set up by Hurras Network following the earthquake, thanks to funding from Cordaid. The spaces offer fun activities and a place for children to spend time together and play.
Sami has hearing problems and a speech impediment and was not attending school before the earthquake. At the child-friendly space, he was offered specialist one-to-one educational and emotional support.
Their teacher is 35-year-old Rawa, who could see the emotional toll the earthquake had on her students. “After the earthquake, the children felt scared, anxious and had difficulty focusing,” Rawa said.
The summer school proved to be a sanctuary for 12-year-old Salwa and played a pivotal role in helping her cope with the stresses of a traumatic year. "I feel very safe here. I am with my friends, which helps me forget about the earthquake,” she said.
Returning to school has also helped children think more positively about the future. Though for 11-year-old Mahmoud, his ambitions are directly linked to his recent experience.
One of these students was ten-year-old Renaad, who was worried at first about going back to school. “I was afraid of another earthquake happening while I'm away from my family. The school building is old, I was afraid it might collapse,” she said.
However, the summer school also taught calming techniques to the children to help them cope with any stresses they have felt since the earthquake.