Rapid response to reach children traumatised by Turkey earthquakes

Maya Vakfi's programmes have helped refugee children in Turkey deal with their trauma (Theirworld/Didem Kendik)

Theirworld is supporting an emergency programme that will provide vital mental health services to children affected by the disaster.

When disasters strike, children are often left traumatised and struggling to cope. They need urgent help to get their lives back on track. 

Theirworld is supporting an emergency programme to provide crucial mental health services and protection for children in areas of Turkey devastated by the earthquakes on February 6. 

The disaster killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria. Over seven million children lived in the affected regions and 850,000 of them are still displaced after their homes were damaged or destroyed. 

Maya Vakfi, an organisation that works to improve the quality of life for children and youth, has set up the emergency programme. Theirworld has worked with them previously on projects to help refugee children deal with psychological trauma. 

In the short term, Maya Vakfi will establish mobile teams in the affected areas of Turkey to provide “psychological first aid”, which aims to reduce children’s stress symptoms after a natural disaster or traumatic event. 

Within six months, the teams will also be delivering art-based psychosocial support and individual sessions for children, along with help for parents. In the longer term, Maya Vakfi’s interventions will include group and individual therapy.