How to reassure children facing emotional trauma?

I have had numerous experiences working with street-connected children. The majority of these experiences have helped me to realise that “change is tough for anyone”, but even more for street-connected children. Have you ever thought of spending a night on the street? It’s not easy at all.

reassure children


We reassure children that we will be there for them

Street-connected children have a number of reasons why they end up on the streets. For instance, divorce, broken families, displacement due to civil wars and the loss of one or both parents at an early age, among others. These traumatic experiences shakes up children´s inner sense of stability. However, there are a couple of things you can you do to reassure children facing emotional trauma, these have been proven to be effective – remember no matter how hard life may look like, you can thrive!

Among the activities we do at SALVE International are the night walks to meet street-connected children. These night walks builds up trust and strengthens the relationship between staff and street-connected children.  This activity also helps street-connected children to know that we are present in their lives not only during the day but also during the night.


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Drama performance at SALVE


Specifically, we interact with them, ask them why they are on the street and encourage them to seek out support from us. We reassure children that we are there for them no matter the hard situations they are going through on the streets. This helps them to cope with the hard life on the street.  It is very important to help them to realise that there is a trust worthy adult in their life who cares for them and who will always be there for them.

SALVE’s International Resilience Programme

Often they have lost hope and live a miserable life, to restore their happiness we carry out also fun activities together every day. For example, they push each other on our swings, we also play games or sing songs.  Actually they love SALVE International’s Resilience Programme activities, each time we cross over to a new month, they ask me “Uncle what it´s on the next programme according to the work plan”.


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Street-connected children participating in drama activities at SALVE


We consulted them before the start of the BwB project and they gave us a list of themes that they would like to use to explore resilience. These themes were dance, music, pottery, traditional dance and right now they are participating in drama. Drama activities have a powerful message on how the children can be resilient whilst living on the street, and also, they are a powerful tool to share key messages on how families can raise resilient children. We will be taking them to perform in front of the community so that they can share learnings on how the community can nurture resilience on children. They are very excited and look forward to go to the community to do their performance. 


Alfred Ochaya

Before becoming Resilience Champion full time, Alfred was the Street Outreach and Drop-In Centre Manager at SALVE. He is a qualified social worker, and volunteers in his spare time for the Red Cross doing a variety of health training, including sexual health, for young people in the community. Alfred is a Street Invest global trainer with many years experience in hands-on street work and leading teams.

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