By Becky John
Save the Children Fund, an NGO, on Tuesday said it would reach out to 7,200 children internally displaced in Gombe state. The Child Protection Advisor, Mrs Abiola Alade, disclosed this to the News men in Abuja. Alade said that the plight of IDPs was of paramount concern to the organisation. She noted that the fund was involved in reaching out to nine communities in Gombe, including the camp for IDPs in the state. The advisor said that the fund was implementing the project with diverse programmes to reach children affected by natural disasters and conflicts.
“Save the children is targeting to reach 7,200 children in Gombe, we are working on the psychological problems of these children.
“These children are individuals that have been traumatised, disturbed emotionally, some have lost their parents and to some an extent lost sense of direction.
“What we do to help them is that we communicate with them, try to turn the negative challenges they have faced in life and portraying them in the positive.
“We have Child Protection Programme, Kids Club, Parents Forum and other programmes that can alleviate the condition of these children,” said the advisor.
The official said that the child protection programme was aimed at reaching out to children in security challenged communities. She explained that the “Kids Club” was a programme where they provide the forum for children to play and be themselves irrespective of challenges they were facing. According to her, the “Parents forum” is an avenue for parents to voice out the challenges they could be encountering in handling their children following the security crises.
“At the Parents Forum, we allow these parents to tell us what problems they face, may be the child comes in late or the child is withdrawn in social activities.
“They hear from each other and can still suggest possible approach to handle some of these problems,” Alade said.
She pointed out that the fund was working in partnership with stakeholders to achieve a milestone in the assistance of internally displaced children in the state.
“We are collaborating with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Ministry of Education, the Nigerian Police, the Military and others to drive home this target.
“We have 30 participants from stakeholders whom we trained on child protection for them to be aware of what to look out for in the protection issues in children.
“We also train them in Psycho-Social First Aid to provide the children with solution to trauma,” she said.
The advisor said that despite the efforts of the fund to assist internally displaced children in Gombe there were still impediments. She emphasized that the security challenge was the discouragement and their ability to access the children displaced. Alade also said that stakeholders involved in assisting internally displaced children in the state needed to be coordinated. The coordination she emphasized would be positive result oriented when they work as a team. Alade, however, assured that despite all odds, the fund would support children displaced in Gombe and environs.