|You can’t keep living like this, ma’am...|
At the end of the day, Julie Dereux plays with the children in their dedicated room at the La Louvière shelter. For the past four years, the youth worker has devoted her time to the shelter’s children: taking them to school, looking after them at mealtimes, standing in for their mothers when they do not feel well or are held up elsewhere, accompanying them on outings to the movies, the theater, etc.
Most of the children have, at the very least, been witnesses of abuse. Unsettled by their experiences, they express their anxieties in very different ways: they may be hyperactive or shut down, but either way, the youth workers help them to express their emotions and their fears. Individual sessions are part of the personalized support provided to the children; these may be regular or occasional, at the mothers’ or the staff’s request. Group games, used to work on self-esteem or cooperation and mutual aid, also help the young residents to move forward. Finally, playful activities designed to overturn sexist stereotypes are frequently organized.
At the end of their stay, many children are sad to leave the communal lifestyle, with girls and boys their own age, as well as the youth workers. And Julie Dereux confesses that, for her, watching certain children go can be very difficult emotionally.
December 9, 2010 – La Louvière – Belgium.
© Pierre-Yves GINET
|Reference : 24-Belgique|
Photograph 20 of 48
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