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Helping Children Debrief after Witnessing Conflict

Dozens of Mozambican children gather under the shade of a big mango tree in Metuge’s resettlement village. Twice a week aid workers help the displaced children forget the horrors of the war that rages in the country’s Northern Province of Cabo Delgado. After witnessing the atrocities committed by Islamic State linked jihadists, many of them suffer from heavy trauma. Drawing helps them escape the harsh reality of the conflict. The trauma inflicted on the children from witnessing the extreme violence is laid bare in their drawings. Some drew military helicopters, while others sketched the makeshift structures that have become their new homes, built from bamboo reeds and mud at the dusty camp. The drawing initiative has won many traumatised children over, who now come back asking for more. According to Doctors without Borders Mental health activity manager in Metuge Erickmar Rodríguez, a lot of progress has been made since the launch of the initiative.