While my work with Internally Displaced Persons has been very rewarding, it has also been very heart breaking to listen to their stories.
These are people just like you and me who have watched parents, children and siblings killed right before their very eyes; they have anxieties because of the horrors they have experienced, they find it difficult to have a good night’s sleep, they wake up with nightmares and fear for their lives. They have vivid memories of what has happened and the trauma is real.
The greatest injustice that can be done would be to reintegrate them into the society after their traumatic experiences without appropriate assessment and care; mentally, physically and socially. We must also take special care of the most vulnerable; the children, the women, the pregnant, and the elderly.
While this is the case, inside most stories, you find a glimmer of hope that all is not lost. They have been through terrifying experiences but remain unbroken; they are resilient and hopeful for the future that is ahead. That future however, is one we are all responsible for ensuring does not elude them.
I will share with you the story of Umar. He is displaced and orphaned however, Umar still has dreams that he holds very dearly; he wants to be the president of Nigeria someday.
His dreams are no less valid than my own dreams. Umar should have a chance of growing up to be whoever he wants to be. Professional counselling and mental health services will be essential in achieving this objective. Essentially, psychosocial support is important in helping to fill the gap between where Umar is today and where he can be tomorrow.
That reality also lies in our ability to get things right and the time to get it right is now. The best time to plan for the future is today.
We need to rehabilitate them mentally, physically, socially and economically. They need to be rehabilitated with dignity!!!
These are real lives and real people. It is also important that we get professional help; you cannot understand what you have never experienced or do not have the professional capacity to deal with.