Refugee children are often traumatized from resettlement experiences. They may have been exposed to violence and combat, home displacement, malnutrition, detention, and torture.

Many have been forced to leave their country and cannot safely return home. Some may have come without their parents and without knowing about their health or safety. Psychological stress and traumatic experiences are often inflicted upon these children over months or even years.

That’s why our trauma healing group targeted children from 8 to 13 years old so we can help them as much as we can heal the wounds of Trauma through the 10 lessons that are based on a biblical and psychological perspective. Many challenges were faced throughout the implementation.

The first is the lack of expression. Some children participated and loved to play but when it comes to personal expression through drawings or questions their motivation and participation level decreased.

Second, we faced a lot of aggressive behaviors! Here I have to mention that in order to remain patient and friendly with them it is very important to interpret their behaviors as an outcome of life circumstances rather than willful disobedience or intentional behavior. The latter kind of mindset helped us achieve many successes. We were able to maintain a well-disciplined class that doesn’t exclude an environment full of love, friendship, and trust. Letting the kids set the ground rules of the group helped them self-regulate their behaviors, their attention, and their respect for one another.

Moreover, the story in their book and the story of Joseph from the Bible, helped the kids to think about their circumstances and about the importance of God in their lives.

Story of one of the children, Annie: In a drawing exercise, kids were asked to draw themselves and God on the same page. Some of them drew God in their hearts, and others drew God on top of the page. Annie insisted on not drawing God. She was pretty sure that he doesn’t love her because of all that she faced. (She didn’t even open up so we can know more about the challenges that she is facing).

At the end of the healing group, Annie came to me and asked me if we can go back to one of the lessons. When I asked her about the reason, this is what she answered: “I want to draw God. I want to draw him all over the page because his love is bigger than everything.”