“[Some] children who’ve recently arrived in Lebanon from Syria very quickly begin to draw images of chopped heads and the army tanks coming closer – very graphic images for a child to have seen…“
Having only witnessed war through the power of the internet, I consider myself quite lucky to be where I sit. Unfortunately, the luck of the draw was not so kind to the innocent children currently smack dab in the middle of a civil war.
So how are these children dealing with the trauma of witnessing terrible acts of war? One strategy that has been adopted and carried out by some incredible folks in Lebanon is art therapy. Art therapists have found an effective tool in their arsenal to help children combat the dramatic after effects that have resulted from witnessing and experiencing these traumatic events.
Art therapist Dania Fawaz tells Al Jazeera,
“A lot of children, especially the younger ones, haven’t developed the verbal skills they need to describe such horrific events, especially if you’re speaking about war. Art is a less directive and more natural tool for children to express themselves.“
One 12 year old boy; who had the horrible luck of living under ISIS, expressed himself by drawing images of the war. This was normal in the beginning and as the time passed, the drawings had contained much less gore, and more happier memories of friends and family.
Founder and director Myra Saad of Artichoke Studio in Beirut has set her sights on a primary goal: let the kids be kids again. Through art therapy, the children can slowly open up to the adults at their own pace, through the power of the pencil. In this case, the pen(cil) is mightier than the sword.
“No matter how long the treatment, Saad said, it is important to leave patients with a message of hope.“
Fawaz sees forward progress being made with her art therapy and the world is that much of a better place to be with these folks here.
“…[Others] have lived through a lot and all they want to draw is rainbows and flowers, and this is what they need.”