C.11.The Importance of Meeting the Psychosocial Support Needs Of OVC
In the context of psychosocial support (PSS), psychological refers to the creation of a platform that allows free expression of feelings and emotions. The social is for actively influencing the social environment towards reintegration of affected children while support is about exploring and systematically empowering children affected by AIDS with resources that enhance resilience.
Children have various needs, Physical, mental, social, spiritual and emotional. All these needs are important for the healthy development and survival of children. Ensuring that these needs are ensures that children’s basic rights are fulfilled.
Failure to meet PSS needs of children has short term and long term negative consequences that could impact on the individual child, family, community and nation as a whole. Children affected by HIV/AIDS have usually gone through experiences that may be traumatizing, with both acute and longer term needs. Increased psychosocial distress may be caused by a child watching a parent or guardian going through the various stages of illness. Eventual death of the caregiver brings about other problems that may exacerbate the emotional distress. Loss of a parent sometimes leads to problems such as separation from siblings, dropping out of school, loss of assets and relocation.
Save the children conducted a research entitled ‘Family matters the care and protection of children affected by HIV/AIDS in Malawi.’ This research has facilitated the need to scale up and incorporate activities focusing on PSS. Save the Children promotes and enhance community programs that strive to address the psychosocial needs of children affected by HIV/AIDS. These include care for children who are potential orphans through the community Home-based Care programs, memory approaches and PSS trainings for persons in constant interaction with children including community based child care (CBCC). Other support activities include memory box trainings for program staff, community members and partner organisations. The program is also doing Journey of life workshops with community members in a bid to raise awareness on the psychosocial needs of children.
Save the Children is currently supporting 120 Community Based Child Care Centers, 703 youth clubs and 133 children’s clubs in Nkhotakota, Lilongwe, Dedza and Mangochi. The program reaches 39662 Orphans and vulnerable children.