January 2010 Project Update

Trauma Therapy for Earthquake Victims in Padang

Trauma Therapy for Earthquake Victims in Padang

One of the common side-effects of natural disasters such as the earthquake in West Sumatra is fear and trauma. Usually the most seriously affected are the children, especially those who have lost members of their family, friends, or their homes. These unseen wounds often take the longest to heal. Prior to Family Care Indonesia volunteers’ visit to Padang this month for trauma counseling, geologists were predicting an even larger earthquake to strike the region which was reported in the media. Verified or not, this news intensified the feelings of uncertainty and stress that many people in Padang were already experiencing.

As has been the case after other natural disasters in Indonesia, FCI volunteers teamed up to bring a program of happiness and cheer to help overcome the trauma that many of the young victims of the earthquake were still experiencing. This program which was full of positive input, included songs, activities and a puppet show and focused on such topics as: Overcoming obstacles, staying positive, taking initiative, and appreciating differences.

During their week-long stay, FCI volunteers brought this program to ten different schools, kindergartens, and orphanages in Padang and the surrounding area. Some school buildings had been completely flattened by the earthquake and were holding school in tents. We set up our program right alongside the students and teachers—despite the rain that sometimes came in through the holes in the canvas roof!

Trauma Therapy for Earthquake Victims in Padang After each program, volunteers took time to interact personally with the children, young people and school staff. Showing personal interest and encouragement is something that we value highly as this is something that reaches much further than material aid and is a key factor for those recovering from disaster situations. FCI volunteers also distributed activity pages and school supplies to students in all the schools visited.

Thanks to a generous donor, FCI was able to donate a new computer to a very needy orphanage; thus enabling the orphans, who had been using the orphanage’s sole and only computer which had been destroyed in the earthquake, to continue their studies.

Encouragement at Drug Rehabilitation Center

Encouragement at Drug Rehabilitation Center

One sector of society that is in dire need of encouragement and personal interest is those participating in drug rehabilitation. At the national drug rehab center, visits from personal family members are only allowed once every two weeks.

Since those in the program were not allowed to leave the grounds to visit their families at Christmas, Family Care Indonesia volunteers--who regularly teach vocational classes and offer guidance counseling--made a special visit for the express purpose of celebrating Christmas with the rehab patients.

The program, organized and enacted by FCI volunteers, included a special Christmas dance performance, music, games, presents for all and delicious snacks. The drug rehab patients were much cheered by the visit and responded warmly and appreciatively.

Institution Educational Support in Medan

Family Care Indonesia donated educational videos and books to two needy orphanages in Medan. At one orphanage we also did a program which taught moral and character building values through a drama/comedy show and donated bread to the children.