Bushfire program for children

Bushfire program for children

30 August 2013

published by http://www.abc.net.au

Australia — A program to help children affected by recent bushfires is being introduced to Coonabarabran.

Seven months after the Coonabarabran bushfire destroyed more than 50 homes, some children are still struggling to cope with the disaster.

Nineteen people including teachers and representatives of community organisations have been trained by not-for-profit group Good Grief, to deliver the ‘Stormbirds’ course.

Chief Executive, Mary Ellen O’Donoghue, says affected children in the community will meet in groups to discuss January’s disaster, how it has impacted them and techniques for coping.

She says teachers have already identified some children in the district who may benefit from the course.

“There are a number of children,” she said.

“Our experience, both in Coonabarabran and in other areas, is there will always be a small group of children.

“It’s not a widespread issue necessarily, but there will always be up to 18 per cent of any cohort of kids who will struggle with an event like a bushfire.”

She says two groups of about seven children will undertake the course during the next few months.

Ms O’Donoghue says many children have been affected, not just those who lost their homes.

“Because it’s destabilised their experience of life.

“For many children they walk to and from school and they see houses or they see properties that might have been damaged in the fire and that unsettles them.

“It unsettles us as adults so if it unsettles us it certainly unsettles children.”

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