Psychosocial support services for people affected by violence

Sunday 18 September 2022

Lobaba Noureldaim: “I joined Save the Children recently as a Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Coordinator. During my studies, I specialized in trauma treatment because Sudan has experienced many disasters and conflicts. I believe that psychological and emotional support is of equal importance as covering the physical needs.” For Save the Children, Lobaba’s first deployment took her to Blue Nile state, where she met a lot of children affected by the recent violence. “When I come to a new place, I start my work by engaging the children in games.

This is how I introduce myself and build trust with them. I can recognise the children most affected by trauma; often, they keep away from others, do not play and seem withdrawn. I try to integrate them into the games.” After the initial session, Lobaba divides the children into groups of about 20 kids. This helps to create a more intimate space and the possibility to engage with the children directly. “In the smaller groups I want to hear from the children themselves. This helps me to identify their mental and emotional state. I also use drawings and games as tools because the children can express themselves in another way. Then I identify the children most in need of psychosocial support by taking into account my observations, what the children have expressed themselves and also their body language.”

Some of the sessions with children have been very challenging for Lobaba herself: “Once a boy drew very angry men with big teeth, scary hands and big guns. He was shaking when he explained to me that he witnessed his close uncle being killed in front of him. I had to hold myself together to remain strong and to be able to support him. Luckily, the parents of this boy were very open to the idea of therapy and after three sessions his emotional state started to improve.” Lobaba’s dream is that no more conflicts and crises will affect Sudan.

However, as long as this dream has not become a reality, she wishes that psychosocial support services will be a part of all emergency responses and interventions across the country. The psychosocial support work was made possible through the generous support of the SHF ERRM funding stream. Further psychosocial support services in Sudan are funded by ECHO, USAID and the Humanitarian Fund (Save the Children).