The child psychologist Yiannis Kalyvopoulos of the Day Center of Psychosocial Support of Underage Refugees & Immigrants of NGOs Zeuxis, working in conjunction with Doctors of the World, on the occasion of World Immigrant Day, tells the stunning story of a 10-year-old Afghan girl and how they helped her find her smile again...
“A” Is a 10 year old girl who had to flee Afghanistan with her family due to the precarious conditions that prevailed there.
Following a hard and perilous journey to reach Greece, “A” had to experience separation from her mother, who along with her younger sister left to a Northern European country to seek international protection.
So, “A” stayed in Greece with her father, trying to give meaning to all the losses, separations and transitions.
I was wondering if it's possible for these meanings to find space inside her and to what realizations they will lead her…
When “A” first came to ZEUXIS Day Center, I felt that the warm welcome of our staff would “melt” the sorrow and sadness the flight of her mother caused to her. It looked like the more she trusted us the safer and the more protected she felt.
I believe that the memories of our childhood constitute the onset of our auto-biography, and the goal is to let the children narrate their experiences with cohesion by providing them with a safe framework and letting them know we can fulfill their needs.
I have the feeling that this helped “A” feel more comfortable at our Day Center from the very first days of her presence, while also giving her the space to express herself.
When we asked her to draw her family she used the brightest colors of her emotional spectrum, reflecting her desire for unity and stability.
When she finished she ran directly toy her father and said: “Daddy please take a photo of the drawing and text it to mum. She will be very pleased…”
The Day Center of Psychosocial Support of Juvenile Refugees & Immigrants of NGOs Zeuxis operates with exclusive funding from the Swiss Confederation.