|By Jane Larsson, CIS Executive Director|
Amidst the usual flurry of activity in many schools this September, I'm sure that, like me, your thoughts have been diverted to victims of the latest environmental and human-made disasters. Exposure to these traumatic events can, of course, have a lasting effect on impacted children way beyond the clean-up period.
Global organizations leap into action to support local authorities in ensuring children’s unique needs are met, and their voices are heard. New projects and organizations are often established to address key areas of need such as Project Fleur-de-Lis, established after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, USA, to provide a tiered approach to triage and treat children experiencing trauma symptoms, providing screening in schools across the city. International schools play a crucial role in their communities at these times, and I know leaders of several CIS member schools who have been involved first-hand when their communities have faced such loss and damage.
We, at CIS, are also here to assist our members. We offer a range of immediate support to schools effected and in need, so that our members should not feel alone. My colleagues are experienced international leaders, available to help manage the situation, using their deep experience of managing crises. They are willing to act as a sounding board. School communities may also be in need of crisis counselling, and we can connect our members with CIS Affiliated Consultant psychologists who have the expertise to advise you. There are several other ways we can offer support, though we hope our members never find themselves in a situation where they need our help in this way.
For those schools currently in need, we wish you all strength and a speedy return to safety and normality. For any of you wishing to donate to relief funds, the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) has opportunities to donate to many disaster-hit locations globally.