A study of war-affected children in Sri Lanka
Sammanfattning: This licentiate thesis aims to build up an analytical model for studying rehabilitation programmes for children in Sri Lanka, with a view to future research. This area is considered very important, because children's perspectives in the post-war reconstruction efforts can be considered as still a largely invisible subject. On the one hand, children's participation in reconstructions decision-making is very rare. On the other hand, children are not receiving adequate attention in this decision-making. For instance, UNESCO (2002) says that most post-conflict situation focuses only on children's short-term needs, and children's development orientation is always neglected. Therefore, my intention in this study is to highlight thinking about how war-affected children can be included in the post-war reconsruction effort in Sri Lanka, and how they can be helped to overcome violent experiences, and to rebuild their lives within the long-term development perspectives. At the same, this study tries to understand some specific problems that children face due to ongoing war in Sri Lanka, as a bridge for understanding what kinds of problems should be addressed by the rehabilitation programmes. This study was conducted in three war-torn areas in Sri Lanka in 2005. The study was based on three steps over a time period of nearly six months. The first step was to make contact with particular areas, and collecting initial information about the area, the children and the many people who were working with war-affected children. The second step conducted was a pilot study with the children from two selected areas. The third step was conducted as a real study with the 50 selected children, and 31 other people, including parents and adults of the children, school teachers, and community leaders of the particular community. Semi-structured interviews, observation and the 'Ladder of Life' technique were used as the main data collection methods. Although many alternative thoughts and arguments coexist in present day discussions about the effects of war on children, this study's findings show that children who live in war-torn areas can be affected by war, psychologically, physically and socially, and these effects can occur both directly and indirectly. At the same time, this study reveals that those effects are interrelated and cannot be taken in isolation.
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