Children learn how to grieve

Safe environment of support and love
Grief and bereavement have a tremendous impact on the lives of children and teenagers.
Henriette Lamprecht
Children's grief is often overlooked, while bereavement has a tremendous impact on their young lives on a social, mental, emotional, physical and spiritual level.

A trauma camp for children, which will be offered again this year in April by Legacy of Love's Sybrand and Ronel de Beer, aims to give them the opportunity to try to process and articulate their grief at the children's level. The camp is a safe environment of support and love through a faith-based program and activities that empower the children and young teenagers with skills and a chance for healing.

The trauma camp took place last year with 16 primary school children attending. The children really enjoyed it, says Ronel, and were given numerous aids to help them with their emotions and how to deal with them. "They played, were in nature and creative. Fanie (Dr. Rias Oberholzer's hand puppet) also came to visit."

A maximum of 20 children can be accommodated during the weekend. Rias is part of the camp again this year as a ministry leader who will also lead the sermon on Sunday, while he is also involved in conversations with teenagers. Sybrand will focus on, among other things, memories and special moments and finding meaning in life; the psychological consultant Monique Dames on how to deal with feelings and emotions; Ronel on the process of grief and how to understand it as well as writing a special letter for the loved one who lost the children; while the youth leader and life coach Francois Dames guides the children in nature on how to take care of themselves and find a healing outlet. Psychologist Analja Wellbach also joins the team.

She and Sybrand actually act as guardians for the children, Ronel says, but because they have worked through the journals of mourning that she compiled, they already know how and what to deal with in collaboration with psychologists.

For the camp on 15 and 16 April for children aged 7 to 12, it depends on the children whether they want to bring an adult with them. "Usually children aged seven to ten want their parents with them."

At the end of the camp, each child receives a care box with, among other things, a mourning journal. The camp for teenagers aged 13 to 16 is on 1 and 2 April. For more information, contact Ronel at 081 366 6456 or [email protected]