Improvement of the emotional well-being of siblings

The project «Improvement of the emotional well-being of siblings* (*Siblings (brothers and sisters of children with the special needs) through games and art therapy» with the use of waste and improvised materials started in July 2010. The project is supported by the Foundation of Social Development of the World Bank (Department of the World Bank in the Republic of Belarus) with a deadline — February 2011. 

Belarusian Children's Hospice is the first organization in Belarus, which started work to support siblings and conducted this program for 10 years already. There are 45 siblings under 18 in the data bank of the hospice, whose brothers / sisters are under the ward of the hospice and number of siblings, who have survived the loss of his or her brother or sister is more than 40 people. Approximately 80% of families, who are raising siblings, did not possess the information that their children may have specific psychological characteristics and needs. In addition, families point out shortcoming of the emotional support for siblings, or even lack of such support, do not have any time and resources to provide adequate support to improve the emotional status of all children in the family.
 
As a result of living with a child suffering from disability or chronic disease leading to death, all the parents' attention is primarily focused on the sick child, which usually leads to the detriment of other brothers and sisters, who are the first helpers for their parents in care for their sick brothers and sisters. Along with a strong emotional attachment and positive feelings to her or his brother / sister siblings fell fear, jealousy, resentment, grief, embarrassment, loneliness, pressure, face with misunderstanding of peers, discrimination and suffer from the loss of his or her brother or sister.
 
The project activity will help to improve the emotional state of siblings of children with special needs and will help to solve the following objectives:
 
· Improvement of the emotional well-being of siblings through play and art therapy with the use of waste and improvised materials.
· To provide information for siblings, parents and professionals through consulting, development, publication and dissemination of printed materials.
 
Games and creativity make up a significant part of children's lives. The project provides opportunities for children to be engaged in these activities in an organized and purposeful way. Materials, which are used for joint activities for children have a huge value in our project. Classes of manual labor and fine arts, using readily available materials and wastes, will help children to learn how to take care of the environment, and decorate it — show that any thing that came into disrepair, may find a second life. These experiences they can share with their peers at school and with their friends.
 
The project activity is aimed at disabled children, children with a normative type of development and also volunteers, professionals (psychologists, social educators, etc.), and parents.
 
The project has begun work to support siblings in a summer camp of the hospice «Aist» in the village Zabrodie, near Stolbzi, and to advise parents and professionals. In addition, printed materials for the children, parents and professionals, who along with the practical values, will attract attention to the problems of siblings, to disseminate information about the needs of siblings and the way you can satisfy them, will be published.
 
Work is conducted in partnership with the CKROiR of Minsk, where the creative classes for siblings will be held in September and January. Together with the National Environmental Center for Children and Youth an exhibition of the creative works of siblings and students of the CKROiR of Minsk, a competition for the best creative works and the photo exhibition will be held. Volunteers from the Pedagogical State University of Minsk, as well as international volunteers from Britain, Germany, the Czech Republic are involved in the work on this project.
 
We hope that through the project activity children will increase their sense of well being and comfort; communication between siblings and their parents, the relationship between healthy children and their sick siblings, behavior, concentration at school and the family dynamics at home will be improved. Brothers and sisters will be better able to help themselves and each other in difficult situations. Creative work will become an example of how children can achieve many important goals with the help of simple materials and improve their emotional well-being.