New Trauma Center to Help Northern Nigeria’s 2.7m Conflict-Affected Children

Photo Credit: Open Doors USA

(World Watch Monitor) Twelve years after his death, Martina has finally ‘buried’ her father. Not in the real sense – he is in a mass grave somewhere unknown – but by saying goodbye in her own way, thanks to help from trauma counsellors helping women and children in northern Nigeria.

UNICEF estimates more than 2.7 million conflict-affected children in Nigeria need psychosocial support. Reporting “that girls and boys were directly targeted by Boko Haram with severe psychosocial consequences,” the UN’s humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, expects “that more children will be identified as traumatised in varying degrees in the worst-affected areas” of the country’s northeast.

Now a service, set up by Open Doors, a charity helping Christians persecuted because of their faith, is about to expand. A new building, opening later in 2017, will create a residential centre to help those needing more intense treatment. The charity says it will be big enough to accommodate 30 people and have a training facility to meet the growing need for counsellors. It built a similar facility in Iraq to help the victims of the Islamic State group, and the service has also helped victims of the conflict with Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria’s Middle Belt states.

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