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[OPIRG-EVENTS] Presentation on: Militarised violence and its impact on children: From Sri Lanka to Afghanistan

Apology for crossposting:

South Asia Partnership (SAP) Canada
cordially invites you to a presentation on

Militarised violence and its impact on children: From Sri Lanka to
Robert Chase
Occupational and Environmental Health Unit
Department of Community Health Science
University of Manitoba

On: Wednesday March 27, 2002
At: 2.00 - 4.00 PM
At: Room 202, 1 Nicholas Street, Ottawa

This presentation will be based on a paper authored together by Kenneth Bush
and Robert Chase, titled: Religious Women, Children and Conflict: Exploring
linkages and disjuncture in Peacebuilding, Healing and Reconciliation

It will give an overview of militarised violence and its impact on children,
social and cultural identity. Peacebuilding in the continuum of war and
reconstruction is seen as a two-fold process, deconstructing structures of
violence and constructing structures of peace. This recognizes the
contributory role played by religious identities, politics, and tensions at
all stages of conflict: before, during and after. Contemporary war and
violent conflict poses deep challenges to both religion and secular
humanitarian efforts. There is a dynamic interplay between the forces of war
and violent social change, and the vitality (or not) of religion to address
humanity's need for collective, transformative vision. A critical
examination of the activities and functions of religious women and their
respective institutions may highlight more effective strategies building on
their unique opportunities and roles in the local community and beyond.

The second part of the presentation will  focus on psychosocial
interventions for children affected by conflict. Healing and community
reconciliation have been traditional domains of religion, but biomedical and
externally driven interventions have eclipsed the role of religion and
indigenous healing practices, leaving communities affected by war further
bereft of cultural identity and processes for social healing. A range of
approaches are currently practiced, from post-trauma counselling in a
medicalized setting, to initiatives that strengthen the child's social
supports, to those that offer the child opportunity for creative expression
and self-discovery of resiliency. What is the role and potential of
religious women and their institutions as development actors?

In the third part some of these themes will be illustrated by recent work in
Eastern Sri Lanka where conflict has divided formerly harmonious community
life along several ethnic and religious lines.

Works of Robert M Chase in the area of war-effected children include:
 More Than Bandages Program of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF Canada):
Mental health programming for children affected by war. This framework
focuses creative approaches to promote self-healing in children and their
communities, involving an interdisciplinary team including both artists and
mental health professionals committed to addressing the effects of trauma
and nurturing the resilience of children.
 Integrating Environmental / Child / Community Rehabilitation in
Afghanistan: Themes involve tree nurseries and other practical environmental
restoration measures, linked with mobilizing Afghan children and youth in
community reconciliation and peace building activities.
 Butterfly Garden: A child mental health program in Eastern Sri Lanka for
trauma healing and community reconciliation in a creative play program for
children affected by armed conflict.
 The Health of Children in War Zones Project:  Survey of 300+
schoolchildren affected by armed conflict assessed for child psychological
trauma and anxiety/depression. A community-based "health-peace initiative"
called the Butterfly Garden emerged as follow-up response.
 Health and Welfare in Iraq after the Gulf Crisis. A Public Health Survey
on child mortality and nutrition of 9,000 Iraqi households to document
infant and under-five mortality rates.

His publications include:
 Chase R and Bush K, The Mental Health of War Affected Children: a
Community-based Rehabilitation and Reconciliation Program in Sri Lanka's
Eastern Province Asia Pacific Journal on Disability and Rehabilitation
special series on South Asia to be published February 2002
 Chase Robert "The Butterfly Garden, Batticaloa, Sri Lanka: Final Report of
a Program Development and Research Project (1998-2000)" Monograph ISBN
955-599-197-9 Sri Lanka: Sarvodaya Vishva Lehka Printers, 2000

Space is limited. Please confirm your attendance to:
Faruq Faisel
SAP Canada
Phone: (613) 241 1333, extension 226
Fax: (613) 241 1129
E-mail: ffaisel@sapcanada.org

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