Most of the children The Boaz Project serves have endured traumas many of us can scarcely imagine. Their journeys have been marked by loss, abandonment, and a yearning for love. These children, like fragile flowers buffeted by turbulent winds, need nurturing hands to guide them.

Our godly partners around the world long to help the orphans in their communities. Many, stepping out in obedience to our Lord’s command to care for orphans, have opened their homes, shared their meals, and offered countless hugs.

But what happens when the behaviors often associated with trauma—the lying, hoarding, promiscuity, self-harm, and more—rear their ugly heads? Most caregivers around the world are ill-equipped to address these behaviors and help the children in their care heal.

That is precisely why training in trauma-informed care is crucial. By providing consistent routines, an understanding of trauma’s grip, and unconditional love, our partners can help these children’s wounded hearts begin to mend. Trust starts to blossom, and the seeds of resilience are sown.

Trauma-informed care is a compassionate and comprehensive approach that recognizes the impact of trauma on an individual’s life and focuses on fostering resilience and healing. It acknowledges that trauma can manifest in diverse ways, leading to emotional, psychological, behavioral, and even physical challenges in orphans. To help children heal, trauma-informed care focuses on:

1. The Importance of a Safe Environment

Orphaned children need a safe and loving space to heal from their past wounds. A trauma-informed care setting ensures that all caregivers are attuned to the child’s unique needs. This environment prioritizes emotional safety, helping children build trust and develop healthy relationships.

2. Creating a Sense of Belonging

Orphaned children often grapple with a profound sense of loss and disconnection. A trauma-informed approach aims to create a sense of belonging, acknowledging the significance of their cultural identity and heritage. This enables them to rediscover their roots, instilling a feeling of pride in who they are and where they come from.

3. Empowering Through Choice

When trauma takes away a child’s sense of control, trauma-informed care seeks to restore it. Empowering children with choices – be it in decision-making, activities, or expressing their feelings – helps them regain a sense of agency over their lives. This newfound empowerment becomes a cornerstone for building resilience and overcoming adversity.

4. Supporting Emotional Regulation

The aftermath of trauma often leaves orphans with turbulent emotions that may be difficult to comprehend or manage. A trauma-informed approach equips caregivers with tools to support emotional regulation. By teaching coping mechanisms and validating emotions, these children can learn to navigate their feelings in a healthy manner.

5. Fostering a Growth Mindset

Trauma can lead to feelings of hopelessness and a fixed mindset, where children believe their circumstances define their potential. Trauma-informed care seeks to cultivate a growth mindset, encouraging children to view challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. By embracing mistakes as part of the journey, these children can build resilience and embrace their potential.

By providing a nurturing and compassionate environment, trauma-informed care has the potential to heal deep wounds and shape orphans’ futures in profound ways. It can help young people understand  that the trauma they have experienced does not define them. Rather, their ability to overcome their past challenges empowers them to become resilient, compassionate, and determined individuals. It allows them to see themselves as capable of achieving their dreams, irrespective of the past they carry.