Critical training to better protect, support, and heal vulnerable children


series: Protecting the Children by Wayne Bleier


In many traditional cultures when, when girls reach puberty, they're not supposed to go out. You know, they're kept at home until they're married.

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In refugee situations. These customs, may breakdown when girls have to go out to go to the bathroom or to collect water. They have their tasks, and there's boys around. Whereas, before boys and girls might not have been allowed to mix in adolescence.

Neither one really knows how to deal with the other one. We might have examples of girls being harassed at water points by boys. Touched, yelled at, whatever, because they're not used to this.

Going to the bathroom or going to the latrine is a dangerous place for most girls. They need to go in groups. We need to teach girls that it's safer for them to go in groups. Make sure that they have flashlights or torches for the evening because that's a high risk time.

Harassment is a form of abuse. It can be psychological abuse. It could lead to physical abuse or sexual abuse. It is, in that way, a violation of a child's right to protection. Vulnerable children are more likely to be harassed...disabled children.

It's also a violation of development because it's psychologically damaging to be harassed. If people are harassed, they're not going to be willing to go out. There'll be developed fears. They might be afraid to go get water or to go to the latrine because of harassment.

It can prevent them from doing things that they. And most people, normally have to do. If people are on the line to get food, and people are pushing them, children especially are more likely not to be able to get the food. That's another thing.

We have to also make sure that we don't put children in situations where they can be harassed or abused or exploited.


Wayne Bleier

Wayne is a trained child and family therapist with over 25 years of experience supervising and implementing CP programs overseas in Former -Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Rep of Congo, Indonesia, East Timor, Afghanistan, Liberia, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Uganda, Lebanon, and Bangladesh. During this time he worked with Mike Wessells at Columbia University.

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He has worked for IRC, Save the Children UK, Child Fund International, War Child UK and UNICEF. Wayne holds an MSW degree from the University of Washington. Currently he holds the position of Child Protection Manger and Case Management Specialist for DRC's program working in the Rohingya emergency in Bangladesh.


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