INTERNATIONAL CHILD DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
When families are uprooted through social changes, migration, catastrophes, children losing their parents or having been numbed by severe deprivation and emotional shock, childcare can falter.
The International Child Development Programme (ICDP) aims to strengthen and enrich relationships between children and those who care for them. Susila Dharma Britain has provided assistance to expand these programmes in countries such as Chile, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay and the Ukraine.
Activity in Ukraine
Most recently, following a very successful appeal to our donors shortly after the start of the war in Ukraine in 2022, Susila Dharma Britain has provided support to ICDP in Ukraine. ICDP had already been working in Ukraine since 1998 and established strong links there, including a collaboration with UNICEF. The ICDP has trained many facilitators in the country, but due to the conflict with Russia, several of them have been unable to work consistently and their home situations have become very unstable. We offered financial support to help them and others to carry out their work in their local settings.
Some facilitators have remained in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other frontline towns and cities, continuing to support parents and families where they can. Their activities include consultations with parents on how to communicate with children, crisis counselling, dealing with trauma and direct activities with children.
ICDP is remarkably adaptable and fits well with other forms of support and therapy, particularly in groups where parents and children can share stories and the feeling of trust and healing can grow. Several facilitators use art techniques and games to help break down barriers and gain trust. Others will talk about film and talk about heroes to engage with the children and parents.
We have spoken to ICDP facilitators who have found that many children are distressed by the conflict around them, express restlessness and irritability and are being neglected by their parents because their parents are distracted and emotionally traumatised themselves. Many families have been separated and children are often being looked after by extended family members. By using physical touch, eye contact and talking and listening with love and engagement, the volunteers helped parents reconnect with their children. Building stronger parents ensures the child's chances of healthy growth and healing are possible. These are just a few examples of testimonials (translated from Ukrainian):
“Thank you for the lessons and everything you do for the people – it is very important to have support, and you are like God’s helpers…thank you.”
“I like that everything is simple and easy to communicate, although it is about serious and deep things. I like a lot of examples, videos, etc. Thank you for continuing your hard work!”
“I am very happy to take part in the program. You treat every member so carefully. For me, as the mother of a small child, the ICDP program is very relevant.”