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Syria, Lebanon, children, psychological disorders
After fleeing war, the children of displaced Syrian families living in Lebanon suffer from many psychological disorders. The NGO Terre des Hommes, supported by Agence Française de Développement (AFD), is working to help these families and their children deal with trauma. 10-year-old Sarah is among the children severely affected by war.

Before, she was anxious and withdrawn. When Terre des Hommes Lausanne and INSAN Association met Sarah, a young Syrian girl displaced in Lebanon with her family, the ten-year-old was having major difficulties communicating with others. The organizations are cooperating to support Syrian families displaced on Lebanese territory through the project “Protection of the most vulnerable children affected by the Syrian crisis in Lebanon and Jordan.” Together, they helped Sarah gradually recover. 

Sarah met a psychologist from INSAN who began working with her to understand the causes of her fears. The psychologist first encouraged Sarah to express her fears in a way that helped her overcome her reluctance to share her thoughts. Through her drawings, Sarah revealed the reasons for her anxiety and difficulties.

I remember the day the doctor asked me to paint what I was afraid of and I drew myself crying, with a big black cloud taking over my country. I remember that the next day, my tears turned into a smile and I put my fears behind me.

Sarah

When Sarah’s family was trying to flee the war in Syria, she was present when her father found himself in the midst of a serious and dangerous incident. The violence of this incident fueled fears in her thoughts and imagination.  

Sarah also suffered from physical pain, including headaches and stomach pain caused by anxiety. After several sessions and a variety of activities, Sarah’s therapist was able to identify the point of pain in her body, help her discover the causes and stop suffering from the consequences. This allowed Sarah to return to a more normal childhood. 


A long-term task 

INSAN also went to visit Sarah and her family over a period of four consecutive months to teach them positive parenting methods, and carry out psychosocial and art therapy activities during individual sessions 

All these efforts help Sarah break free from the cycle of fear that had become her daily reality. Today, after confronting her fears in a safe environment, Sarah has been able to overcome them.  She has become a more sociable child. She goes to school and has the confidence she needs to play with other children and open up to her family. 

Further reading