Be Aware of Trauma
We are asking you to be aware of trauma issues amongst refugee children. A child’s development can be profoundly affected by traumatic experiences before, during, or after migration. Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center reports that more than half of refugee children suffer from PTSD. Others can suffer from major depression at refugeehealthta.org
What does that mean for you as a potential volunteer? These children are vulnerable and deserve thoughtful interaction when they arrive in the U.S. And they need special care in some cases. It is the kind of care that goes beyond normal volunteer work and you, as a volunteer, are not involved in it. At best, being aware of this situation and understanding some of the behavioral consequences you can expect to witness will help you to have a positive and meaningful impact on the children. Remember that the aim is to help bring hope, dignity, and a sense of belonging to each refugee child. Being aware gives you a leg up.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network website can serve as an introduction to the effects of traumatic events a refugee child might experience. While they list the effects, they sound a hopeful note on children’s resilience. See www.nctsn.org.