New project in Thi Qar
Following in-depth research in the south, War Child concluded that returnee families needed support in education, welfare services, and provision of psychosocial services and help to generate sustainable livelihoods to increase their low income. War Child is providing a unique approach to promoting livelihoods on the basis of child rights, and is addressing the developmental needs of vulnerable children. This programme has four main components: Livelihoods, NGO capacity building, Psychosocial and Paralegal work. War Child is in the process of registering a new local NGO called "Nida' il-Tifil" ("Call of the Child"), whom War Child will support in providing skills, training, financial and management assistance. The aim of the project is to enhance communities' abilities and willingness to absorb population increase and contribute towards greater communal cohesion which will promote re-integration. Our assessment team in Iraq has identified 6 villages with whom we will work to achieve these aims through community based organisations. The progarmme invests in local capacity and builds on civil society.
Our other work in Southern Iraq continues: The Drop-in-Centres in Basra and Nasiriyah are progressing and enter the second stage of rehabilitation. Meanwhile training is being provided to local staff in the areas of Child Participatory Research, Child Protection, Counseling Skills etc; and Participatory Action Research with the street children has started in Basra. The centres will provide a safe place for vulnerable street children and help them to gain access to education, skills and better opportunities for their future.
Our child protection work has also expanded. During the course of 2005, seminars have been held in the Herat province of Western Afghanistan, in Child Rights, Protection and Education. 150 teachers attended one of our seminars, so a huge amount of children in orphanages and kindergartens have already benefited from the programme.
We also work in a juvenile detention centre in Herat, lobbying the justice department for fair and legal treatment of the children detained. We have recently assisted with the transferal of boys to a new centre outside of the male adult prison and are still lobbying to ensure the girls are afforded the same rights. War Child staff visit the centre weekly and provide activities for the children via educational resources and leisure activities.
War Child implemented an innovative Farm project for vulnerable women and men living beneath the poverty line in Urdu Khan, Herat province, in October 2002. A crèche for the children was also built and educational courses were run, these included numeracy and hygiene. The project has since been handed back to the women and men to enable them to be self sufficient: they eat their produce and sell the surplus at the local market. War Child continues to support this project and recently organized for the farm to receive a free supply of water for two months which has benefited these people.
War Child continues its involvement with the kindergarten in central Herat. After lobbying on behalf of children imprisoned with their mothers. They have now been granted with the right to attend the kindergarten in Herat. War Child now transports the children to and from the kindergarten. The interaction between the children has grown enormously and their social skills are improving daily.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
War Child has successfully run Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programme in a northern province of DRC for child soldiers. We worked with around 400 children, providing an effective programme of re-integration into local communities. We are about to undertake a 6 month assessment to look at the children whom DDR programmes fail in order to develop a response that focuses specifically on these children.
We also support four abandoned children's centres in Kinshasa which take in street children who have been abandoned, separated or displaced by war.
The Music Therapy Education and Research Centre housed within the Pavarotti Music Centre in Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina is the only music therapy clinic in the world that specialises in post-traumatic stress in children in a post-war environment. It has treated over a thousand severely traumatised children since its doors opened in 1998. Seven years on, we have expanded our remit to include children with disabilities who are excluded from mainstream education, as well as children suffering from post traumatic stress or secondary trauma.