Children Paint Their Feelings at Jdita Exhibition
In an atmosphere immersed in lively activities and creative ideas, the Arts and Crafts Exhibition for children was held by the Child Protection division at Save the Children Lebanon, at the Jdita informal settlement, the Bekaa Valley.
Displaying an assortment of artworks by 47 Lebanese and Syrian children aged between 4-14 years, the event included paintings, models and handicrafts inspired by the children’s thoughts and emotions.
‘’The exhibition demonstrated the children’s talents in handicrafts,’’ said Talar Maherjian, Child Protection Officer at Save the Children Lebanon.
‘’It also enhanced team spirit, capacities and creativity among them. It was for children to indirectly express their psychological distress through projecting and reflecting in positive outcomes.’’
The children, who also took part in a ‘’sing and dance’’ activity, said they had been taught about working ‘as one hand’.
‘’We all worked together,’’ said Khaled*, 14. ‘’We helped each other. Since I don’t go to school, I stayed here all the time to paint and make shapes.’’
‘’Those hands mean that we are cooperating,’’ explained Ali*, 12, pointing to colourful handprints painted on a cardboard.
‘’They also mean we are in a safe place.’’
The exhibition came to crown a two-month response programme by Save the Children, supported by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection ECHO, after a fire broke out inside the informal settlement in the area, killing two children and damaging two tents.
The Child Protection team in Bekaa held several group sessions with the children to help them understand what happened and give them space to share their feelings through drawing and painting.
The parents, for their part, spoke of their delight to see their kids mix with their peers and take part in different activities.
Um Maher* (the mother of Maher), who lost two of her kids in the fire, said that her son Maher* is slowly recovering after suffering a psychological trauma.
‘Maher is overcoming a critical phase now. He had been in a constant state of fright. But now he is participating with the kids. He is more engaging. Hopefully this will help him get better.’’
Save the Children Lebanon has been extending psychological support to vulnerable children through special Psychological Support Specialist activities, such as ‘Let’s Play Together’, ‘Equal You Equal Me’, and ‘Child Resilience’. The aim is to help children overcome the anguish caused by deeply traumatic events and tragedies they experienced.
*Names are changed for protection purposes