Haiti: A mother and son slowly recover after earthquake

Haiti Earthquake update

As 15-year-old Daniel* recovers from the earthquake, he finds comfort at the SOS child friendly spaces and recognizes the improvement in his mother's mental health

Daniel* experienced the earthquake on August 14, 2021, and it was the first time a major event had such an impact on his life. He was in his room that Saturday morning and every time he thinks about it, he bursts into tears. 

Haiti Damage

"I can't imagine if the wall in my bedroom fell off,” he says. “If I was not awakened and moved fast, I wouldn't be alive by now and my mom, whom I adore, couldn’t live without me.” 

He believes that many young people who have experienced this event need a safe space, someone to talk to, someone who can help them forget everything. He says his friend Samuel can't get over it since losing his mom. He is no longer paying attention in class and is no longer interested in school.

Whenever we lose a loved one, our first intention is to let go,” says Daniel. “We no longer have the strength to fight, and we risk losing our lives if we do not have someone to listen to us and help us heal this wound.” 

According to him, the SOS child friendly spaces are very important for children, adolescents, and young people. These spaces, he says, help heal a wound that, if left untreated, would have caused the infected part of the body to be amputated.

Since the earthquake on August 14, Daniel has learned to live far from the comfort he used to know. He covers the damaged parts of his house with a tarpaulin. With the support of his mother, he cleared the rubble so that he has more room to sleep at night. His mom recently met psychologists from the SOS Children’s Villages program in Haiti.

SSO Family Meetings

"I love when my mom goes to these meetings,” he admits. “When she comes back home, she is less aggressive, open to debate, smiling. This allows me to understand the benefit of talking about your anxieties and dispelling your fears. I believe many other families need this much talking space to break free.

Daniel is already dreaming of his independence. He is learning tiling to earn enough money to help his mom rebuild the house. He splits his time between morning school classes and spends his afternoons tilling. In the next few years, he wishes to have a successful career as a technician in this area. 

SOS Children’s Villages is providing child friendly spaces and psychosocial support to children and their families impacted by the earthquake. These mental health supports, often overlooked in emergency responses, are helping people to overcome and deal with the trauma they have experienced.

 

*Name changed to protect privacy