WACIT Pakistan: Celebrating abilities and talent in the face of adversity

There were several celebrations on the eve of the child psychology symposium. Ten years since Sajida’s visionary conception of the Child Development Programme under the Hussaini Foundation has seen thousands of parents and teachers going through the training courses and so many children benefiting from their therapeutic activities.

A major achievement has been breaking community barriers, particularly on stigma of mental ill health, disability, or being in care. Today we celebrated the exploitation of talent, potential and gifts in the face of whatever adversity life brings. Seeing children driving the campaign was truly inspiring!


WACIT Pakistan: Genuine child participation has nothing to do with culture, age or social status

This really cliched it. The area was very poor, and the children initially struggled to write or articulate, which made me anxious whether they would participate and articulate their views as much as before.

Wroooong! Here came expert facilitation to give the answer – first a warm up game from Sukana, then all her and Sajida had to do was prompt and encourage. The children did the rest. So, if anybody tells you “they are too young” or “they can’t even write”, take no notice – it’s just another adult myth.

WACIT Pakistan: Child participation in a disadvantaged Karachi area

I called them the ‘older’ children, but they were only 9 to 10 years! I was misled by how smoothly the participatory groups went, as well as last year with adolescents. Once they got the scenarios, there was no stopping them.

And it was fun too. Children had views on help-seeking and resilience building strategies at all levels – family, school and community. They positioned themselves as active agents throughout. Which made it even more impressive if one remembered their living circumstances.

WACIT Pakistan: Warm inside the school but tough realities outside

Great to be back at this wonderful school in the heart of a Karachi area of disadvantage. Warm welcome as usual, matching the temperature, and starting with the little ones. They somehow seemed even more confident than last year.

Whole school ethos at its very best! We found that out later with the older children in the participatory workshops. One just hopes that they can compartmentalise and generalise the school nurturing when they go back outsin the real world, because it’s pretty tough for them and their families…

New project to enhance supports for street children in Delhi

Does it sound implausible? My friend Prof Naved Iqbal, who received this Global Challenge Research Fund grant, does not think so. Nor does our partner Salaam Baalak Trust, with their longstanding experience and excellent work in the streets of Delhi. It is certainly tough and overwhelming, but we will be making a start soon, involving key stakeholders, most importantly children and young people who have lived and/or worked on the streets. We hope to have a t

angible and evidence-based plan later in the year.

Reviewing a review on refugee child mental health

Reviews can be over- or under-cooked, but occasionally they push you to unpick the main points. With a large body of evidence emerging on the mental health of refugee children, maybe two messages to take from Seyda’s review of her review in the Bridge:

  • The need for multi-modal interventions
  • Their implementation and evaluation in a ‘real world’ service context


New WACIT project in Bangladesh: Building children’s resilience in resilient cities

The number of children living in disadvantage in LMIC, particularly in urban areas, is sadly expanding. This usually comes in contrast with their decreasing quality of life, welfare, opportunities and access to services. Despite our efforts to enhance children’s resilience in traditional school and community settings in recent years, this appears a little naïve within that wider context.

So, we are grateful to be given this

opportunity to have a crack at linking our service transformation programme with urban planning, transport, leisure and environmental transformation in Dhaka, together with the Development Research Initiative, colleagues from geography and local stakeholders. Really exciting trip into the unknown, but also nice to go back to Bangladesh!