Nepal (EFCA) — No one can experience the significant and repeated trauma of not one, but two major earthquakes, plus numerous daily aftershocks and not be affected in some manner. For adults, it can frequently be very difficult to try to talk about their experience. For kids, it can be even more challenging…some do not even talk at all for days or weeks. For many children they can talk through pictures but not in words, so that is what we have been doing.
When EFCA ReachGlobal arrived at the church on May 30, close to 30 kids sat inside watching a movie on an I-pad screen. One little boy stood out from the rest. As they sang and danced, he just sat and stared. As the children watched a Coke bottle fizz out (as an expression of emotions being bottled up), he just sat and stared, and as they started drawing pictures, he just sat and stared. What ReachGlobal didn’t know is that almost a month ago on April 25, prior to the earthquake, this little boy was running around playing and laughing with the other children.
After a time of singing and music, ReachGlobal started the hard work. As they spoke about emotions, the children were quiet and maybe a little confused. But when they brought out the crayons and paper, the kids all got to work. As ReachGlobal missionaries looked through the pictures that were drawn, they could see a theme of sheer fear and confusion. After drawing the pictures, many of the children were able to share what they saw, what they thought, and what they were feeling at the time.
Children require immediate support and a safe environment in this challenging post quake time. They need a sense of normalcy to start to heal, and that is what ReachGlobal is hoping to come alongside the church and help create. By creating a safe and secure environment for the children to come to, the church is giving the children some structure and helping to reduce the impact of the earthquake.
That day, as the children laughed and sang, it was almost as if the earthquake had never happened for some of them. But, for others, it will take time and people to help them heal like the boy mentioned above. As a matter of fact, as ReachGlobal was loading into the car to leave, a little boy said, “Wait, I guess I do want to share. My brother and I had to jump out of my house to be safe.” He said no more than that, but he shared because they were there to listen.
Creating Child-Friendly Spaces to serve kids on an ongoing basis is a challenge with hundreds of local churches having been damaged, destroyed, or simply lacking the physical space to be able to effectively serve the community. ReachGlobal has a goal to build more than a dozen Community Centers, which can serve as shelters for the monsoon, schools, children’s activity centers, and as a church.