Our #DrawTheLine Campaign

May 20, 2019

Tekening Khing_ getekend voor het leven War_Child_cp
War marks children for life. But with the right psychosocial support, it doesn’t have to. 84 million children urgently need this support.

The facts

  • No child has ever started a war. Yet more than 420 million children grow up in conflict areas.
  • They witness violence, are sometimes forced to fight themselves or lose family and friends in the brutality of war.
  • About 20% - that’s 84 million children - show dramatic emotional and behavioral changes.
  • They are desperate, anxious and insecure. Even if the violence stops, there is no peace for them. A war leaves behind not only visible but also many invisible scars.
  • The conflict marks them for the rest of lives. But with the right psychosocial support, this doesn’t need to be the case.
  • Our goal is that children affected by conflict become normal children again. By helping process their stressful experiences, they can once again dream, learn and play.

Traditional emergency aid

With traditional emergency aid, children get a roof over their heads, a warm blanket and food and drink. These necessities are clearly visible and we are fully in support of these facilities that are made available to them. But these alone are not enough. We want to add: psychosocial support.

Our campaign #DrawTheLine wants to raise awareness that many children are unnecessarily being marked for life. We ask you to support us by signing our petition.

Silent crisis: psychosocial support hardly provided

With the right psychosocial support, children can overcome the negative impacts of war. This support improves their psychosocial wellbeing, tapping into their inner strength and connecting with their natural playfulness, flexibility and creativity. It helps them to face and shape their own future with more confidence.

To prevent millions of children from being marked for life, they urgently need psychosocial support. Yet it is hardly ever provided anywhere in the world. This is a silent crisis of enormous proportions.

“Psychosocial support enables them to again face and shape their own future with more confidence."
Kind Libanon van bovenaf

Let war not mark children for life. Draw the line. Sign the petition.

We cannot do this alone

Unfortunately, we cannot help all the children ourselves. To succeed we need psychosocial support for children affected by armed conflict to become a permanent element of international emergency assistance.

Please support our campaign by signing our #DrawTheLine petition. All signatures will be presented to the Dutch government in October, who will be encouraged to engage other countries.

As an expert organisation we appeal to the international community

In October, the Netherlands will be hosting an important international summit on mental health care in conflict-affected areas. War Child will have a substantive role to play due to our many years of expertise. Dozens of ministers from around the world will come together to discuss this topic. But hopefully also to take concrete decisions which will provide additional funding for psychosocial support for children in armed conflict.

  • We will continue to champion psychosocial support in the run up to October and will make ourselves heard at various events. Because doing nothing is not an option.
  • We must prevent the creation of lost generations. To us it is clear: the children of today are the adults of tomorrow. They must shape their own future and that of their country.
  • However, this can only happen successfully when a child has overcome war.
“The children of today are the adults of tomorrow. They have to shape their own future and that of their country."

You go to school, but you cannot concentrate.
You have food, but you haven’t got any appetite.
You have a boyfriend, but you are always afraid that he will die.
You have a blanket to cover yourself at night, but you can’t sleep because of the nightmares.

(The figures mentioned in this article are based upon on recommendations from the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health, 2018, the plans of the World Health Organization (WHO) 2013-2020, the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN (SDGs 2015-2030) and the London held World Mental Health Summit 2018.)