The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Stormbirds emotional support programme works wonders

A little goes a long way. With Caritas funding, the Stormbirds emotional support programme has helped many children and young people – in and outside of Christchurch – cope with living in the aftermath of the series of earthquakes that have affected Canterbury over the last year.

The Mordecai family only moved to Christchurch six months ago to help with rebuilding. Mother, Paula says the Stormbirds programme helped give her children ongoing support after the frightening magnitude 6.3 June aftershock.

Holly (11) and Joshua (9½) attended six sessions at Sacred Heart School in Addington. It was helpful for them to realise that there were other children in the school feeling the same way they were. Sessions are confidential so kids can openly share their thoughts and fears. Paula says the course helped them understand why they felt the way they did. ‘It was a big thing to know they weren’t alone’.

Another family at Sacred Heart said through Stormbirds their little girl ‘now has her smile and laughter back’.

Stormbirds has been picked up by 20 Catholic and state schools in Christchurch, and two country communities in Canterbury. Other organisations working with children and young people, and private-practice counsellors, have also used the programme, such that about 1,000 children have benefited from it in the Canterbury region.

Stormbirds has also been used at Greymouth High School, at least eight Auckland schools, and other locations, to help young survivors of the Canterbury quakes who have moved to other locations.

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Tutu ana te puehu - Stirring up the dust