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Psychosocial soccer: Red Cross ‘Camp Cup’ in Haiti

13 May 2010

Boys playing soccerWith the World Cup around the corner, countless sports fans know the value of a good soccer tournament, as does the Red Cross which held its own ‘Camp Cup’ in Haiti last week.

Three quake camps in Petit Goâve, where a Red Cross field hospital is based, took part in the tournament. It was organised by Danish Red Cross psychosocial support specialist Ida Andersen with the help of locals from the Haitian Red Cross Society.

Some of the young football players lost parents in the quake and the tournament was arranged as part of a psychosocial support programme which is an integral part of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ relief operation.


Red Cross workers are running mother’s groups in the camps to address the fears and concerns of the community, while child-friendly spaces staffed by volunteers are allowing children to play.

This work complements the health and hygiene promotion programme, which uses singing and fun activities to provide advice on how to maintain good health.

“I’d say at least 35 per cent of all the adults who come to our discussion groups lost a spouse,” said Ida. “People are still very traumatised. To be honest, I find it difficult to imagine they’ve been able to do much parenting over the last three months.”

Red Cross support

Now that schools have finally resumed, the psychosocial support team has moved its two-hour activity programme for adults and children back to four in the afternoon. This allows parents to attend group sessions while the kids get down to storytelling, drawing, skipping and board games.

“Many people need support and once a week we have a training session for Red Cross volunteers acquiring psychosocial support skills,” Ida said.

The programme is making a major difference to hundreds of earthquake survivors – helping them to express their grief and worries as well as reminding people that a smile, and sometimes a game of soccer, lights up the bleakest circumstances.

Read stories from survivors of Haiti's earthquake

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