Providing pedagogical and psychosocial support and a favourable environment for conflict-affected children

Published: Aug 11, 2023 Reading time: 2 minutes
Providing pedagogical and psychosocial support and a favourable environment for conflict-affected children
© Foto: Shushanik Nersesyan

Within the framework of the EU-funded “Resilient Civil Society” project and in partnership with Mission Armenia, we have provided psychosocial support to conflict-affected people in Vayots Dzor. This included free-of-charge psychological consultations, renovating and equipping three resource centers at local schools, and psychological trainings for CSOs and state institutions working with conflict-affected families. This work ensures a safe and favourable environment for children and adults affected by the September 2022 Azerbaijan attacks in Jermuk, Kechut, Vernashen, and Khndzorut.

Many civilians, including children, women, older adults, and people with disabilities, suffered from the attacks in the Vayots Dzor region of Armenia. In addition to physical damage and security needs, the locals faced severe psychological trauma.

Our project provided free-of-charge psychosocial support to around 550 people in Jermuk City, Kechut, Vernashen, and Khndzorut. Individual and group sessions aimed at overcoming the fears and stresses caused by the conflict and meeting the primary psychological needs of the people affected by it .

In cooperation with Mission Armenia, we prioritised the immediate needs of the most vulnerable people—children, their parents, and pedagogues who work with them—as well as providing them with a safe environment for the longer term. For this purpose, we renovated and equipped three resource centres in Kechut, Vernashen, and Khndzorut. Upon completion of the project, the resource centres continue to work successfully. They provide psychosocial services, meetings with logopedists and other specialised pedagogues, and entertaining games for child development.

"The doors are always open for all the community," says Stepan Stepanyan, director at Kechut N3 secondary school, where one of the centres is located. "The community is informed about the existence and services of the centre. Even non-school-age residents are welcome to use it."

To provide specialised services to children and to ensure the project's sustainability and quality, Mission Armenia passed supervision of the three centres to the Territorial Pedagogical-psychological Support Centre. The Child Development Foundation oversees the Territorial Pedagogical-psychological Support Centre in Vayots Dzor.

"During wartime, we focus on humanitarian aid and often forget the psychological needs caused by conflict and the importance of overcoming these. This project made it possible to provide psychosocial services to people living in border communities, especially children—perhaps the most psychologically affected by the conflict. These centres will contribute to the qualitative improvement of the services provided by the Territorial Pedagogical-psychological Support Centre. I believe these new centres have become a safe and favourite place for children," says Alla Harutyunyan, Vice-President of Mission Armenia. 

As part of the project, we also provided psychosocial training for about 100 representatives of CSOs and state institutions working with families affected by the September 2022 attacks. Furthermore, with Mission Armenia, Pahapan, and WINNET Goris, we also launched Safe Spaces and a Hydroponic Fodder Production project.

Autor: Shushanik Nersesyan, Lilit Harutyunyan

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