Our Background Research 

From 2018 to 2019, Hope and Healing International surveyed 87 young clients and their caregivers across four countries where Hope and Healing works with local community-based partners: Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia and Guatemala.

Background and Objective:

Hope and Healing identified four key challenges confronting children and youth with disabilities based on a survey the organization conducted in Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia and Guatemala. The four key challenges related to:

  • body image
  • perception about the future
  • friendships
  • family and community participation

The purpose of this project was to develop a resiliency framework that can be used to strengthen the ability of children and youth with disabilities to deal with the challenges identified.

Method:

Best practices were identified from the academic literature to develop the resiliency of children and youth with disabilities and to improve their ability to deal with the challenges reported by Hope and Healing International. The best practices included both internal/personal and external/environmental protective factors, which were synthesized to generate modules. The synthesis was guided by the American Psychological Association’s and Ungar’s recommendations for developing resiliency programs.

Results:

Nine modules were generated to improve internal/personal protective factors of children and youth with disabilities. These modules included: introduction; cognitive appraisal; positive self-talk, self-compassion and self-acceptance; emotional regulation; meaning and purpose of life; giving back to the world; friendship, social support and resources; dealing with attitudinal barriers, abuse and bullying; and conclusion. Additional modules are still to be developed to address external/environmental protective factors essential for building the resiliency of children and youth.

Conclusion:

The project outcomes provide a preliminary framework for fostering seven important internal/personal protective factors to strengthen the resiliency of children and youth with disabilities in dealing with four key challenges identified by Hope and Healing International.

Appendix:

Just some of what we heard:

child

Too many children with disabilities are left behind and believe they have little value – it’s time to change that.